Dietitians to the Rescue! Packing the ‘Right Stuff’ for a Healthy School Lunch

As summer draws to a close it’s time to start thinking about the coming school year. That means new teachers, homework, and yikes!! – school snacks and lunches! This year keep it simple, healthy and delicious. By serving fresh, wholesome foods you will be teaching your child that nutritious foods taste great. Pressed for time? Fear not! Healthful meals and snacks can prepared in just a couple of stress-free minutes.
To be a lunch box hero, here are some “rules” for packing healthy lunches. Be sure to include:

o A whole grain serving for energy;
o A source of protein for staying power;
o A fruit or veggie for vitamins and fiber; and
o A nonfat or lowfat dairy serving for the bone-building minerals.

Here at www.eatlikeanrd.com we’ve compiled some of our favorite, dietitian-approved school lunches and snacks.
Lunch 1: Whole Grain Peanut Butter Tortilla Topped with Strawberries and Bananas
For a perfect quick and nutritious lunch, try a whole grain tortilla spread with peanut butter and topped with sliced strawberries and bananas.
Peanut butter is an affordable and nutritious part of a lunch or snack. Kids love it and it’s a terrific way to get them to eat more fruits and vegetables. Peanuts have more than 30 important vitamins and minerals, plus more protein than any other nut – which provides sustainable energy. Bananas provide potassium, fiber and vitamin C. And don’t forget the strawberries!
Available year-round, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy anytime. Studies show that strawberries may help prevent certain cancers and heart disease, and help us age more healthfully. A serving has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with antioxidants, potassium, folate and fiber.
Add some calcium to this meal with a glass of low fat milk.
Lunch 2: Hummus, Avocado and Veggie Wrap
Ever wonder how to get your kids to eat more veggies? Another easy-to-prepare, nutritious and delicious lunch starts with a hummus, avocado and veggie wrap. Most kids love the taste of ripe avocados. They are a terrific addition to any meal. Just two to three slices in a sandwich equals a fruit serving and they provide nearly 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Partner them with veggies and they will act like a nutrient-booster, so kids are getting more nutrition with every bite.
Tired of milk? To beat milk boredom think yogurt. We love Stonyfield YoKids organic yogurt. It’s made without any artificial ingredients, chemicals, antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. The cups have 25% less sugar than other kids’ yogurt and Squeezers are great to put frozen into lunch boxes to keep other foods cool, and all contain six different beneficial live active cultures.
For a beverage, add another fruit and veggie serving with Fruitables from Apple and Eve.
Stay tuned as www.eatlikeanrd.com tackles healthy snacks in our next post!
—Katherine

Comments

  1. Wow those look good enough to eat!!! I think kids and adults alike will enjoy them!!! Thanks Katherine!

  2. Lois Black says:

    R.D.s! School lunch programs need you! It’s a great place to work!

    As a retired R.D., as well as a retired school food service director, I KNOW that school lunch can be healthy–if the director knows enough, and has an administration that will back her/him up! It costs more to buy Stonyfield yogurt, but I began serving it in my lunchrooms more than 10 years ago. Whole wheat bread and rolls also cost more, but they became a regular part of my offerings, as well as 1% milk (yes, I DID serve low-fat chocolate as well as white–but did away with whole milk more than 20 years ago). Did I serve chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc.? Yes–once a month. One problem–my lunch prices were the highest in the area, but they sure did taste ‘good’, and were ‘healthy’!

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