As students prepare to head back to school, we asked for some tips when it comes to packing a healthy lunch.
Sure it’s tempting to get pre-packed options, but with little effort, Dr. Jeanne Goldberg, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, says caregivers can make much better options.
First beware of added sugar if you’re buying pre-packaged items. Even things like individual applesauce containers often have unnecessary sugar.
Also, always say no to juice.
Goldberg noted when looking at one popular brand that it was “water first, a bunch of juice concentrates, and remarkably no vitamin C.”
Goldberg says opt for water or low fat milk.
As for the meal, she says it can take less than five minutes to make a good one. Just remember four key components: A rainbow of whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a protein-rich entree or filling, in the case of a sandwich.
In a meal she prepared for us, she included turkey and provolone on whole wheat pita with a side of “yellow tomatoes, some blueberries, some red peppers and some grapes, so it’s got plenty of color.”
Goldberg says adding a treat is absolutely fine. Consider making several selections that you approve of and allowing your child to make the final choice.
The more you involve the kids in making the meal, Goldberg says, the more they’ll be to eat it. Also remember to make things finger friendly. The easier lunch is to eat the more likely they’ll eat too.