School Lunches That Make the Grade

Lunch box filled with healthy foods.Kids need more than pens, pencils, and notebooks to successfully get through a day at school. They also need healthy lunches. Here are some tips on how to make sure your child eats healthy foods while at school:

  • Get your child involved with the planning and packing of lunches.
  • Acknowledge his or her likes and dislikes.
  • Assemble lunch the night before to avoid morning delays and/or hurried choices.
  • If your child buys lunch at the school cafeteria, make sure he or she knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods.
  • Teach your child about portions and portion control.
  • Think healthy and think light.
  • Teach your child to eat until no longer hungry, not until “stuffed.”

Stumped for ideas on what to pack? Try these healthy options:

Main dishes

  • Sandwich made with wholegrain bread, lean meat, and low-fat cheese; or peanut butter and all-fruit jelly on whole-grain bread
  • Pita pocket stuffed with shredded turkey, chicken, or light roast beef; or grated vegetables, low-fat cheese, and light salad dressing
  • Mini pizza, whole-grain English muffin, or bagel topped with turkey pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and garlic herb cream cheese
  • Low-fat tuna or chicken salad on a mini bagel

Fruits and vegetables

  • Red pepper strips, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, or green beans with salsa or light ranch dressing
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fruit cups
  • Applesauce

Healthy snacks

  • Low-fat yogurt, either in a cup or a tube
  • Wheat crackers with peanut butter or low-fat cheese
  • Cottage cheese, with or without fruit
  • Pudding made with skim milk
  • String cheese
  • Salsa with baked chips
  • Peanuts
  • Small bag of light popcorn

Occasional treats

  • Baked or low-fat potato chips
  • Fun-size candy bars
  • Low-fat cookies

Foods to limit

  • Regular snack chips (potato, tortilla, etc.)
  • Full-size candy bars
  • Regular cookies
  • Canned fruits in sweetened syrup

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