It’s hard to believe that the sun-soaked days of summer are soon to be followed by school days and full schedules. Where does the time go?
If packing school lunch becomes part of your daily routine once the school year rolls around, you might already be thinking about ways to make good nutrition part of your child’s daily package. This blog post offers a few suggestions to make packing lunch simple, nutritious, and full of fiber.
Keep it simple
The USDA’s MyPlate is a helpful guide for planning meals, and healthy lunches in particular.
1) Start with fruits and veggies – that’s half the lunch, and full of fiber.
2) Add a dairy or dairy substitute to drink or eat (i.e., yogurt). Try to avoid juices and other sweet beverages.
3) Include one serving of grains (whole grains for a fiber boost).
4) Finish with lean protein.
Mix and match a lunch that is simple and nutritious. Add your own ideas to these lists to expand your options.
- Fresh Berries
- Melon Cubes
- Sliced apples/pears
- Mandarin Oranges
- Raisins or other dried fruits
- Baby carrots
- Grape tomatoes
- Sliced cucumbers
- Low sodium vegetable juice
- Broccoli florets
- Sliced Peppers
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat pita triangles
- Whole grain wrap or tortilla
- Whole wheat mini bagel
- Rice cakes
- Whole wheat pasta
- NuGo Fiber Bar
- Lean turkey or chicken breast
- Hummus or other bean spread
- Nuts, peanut or other nut butter
- Low fat cottage cheese or yogurt
- Soybeans or other beans
- Hard boiled egg
Invite your child to be part of the lunch construction process by making lists of food options, choosing items at the grocery store, and packing a few items him or herself. Make healthy high-fiber “treats” the norm with NuGo Fiber d’Lish, fruit and vegetables, and other whole grains.
Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.