Pack a Healthy Lunch!

With summer coming to an end, school clothes and supplies are on everyone’s mind. Stores know this and are ready with weeks of pre-sales and sales to catch the parent’s eye. There is one form of advertisement that is aimed directly at the child: all the faddish and cool items that could go into a lunch box. Many preschools allow students to bring their home packed lunches. Care should be taken to stay away from all the prefab foods that are loaded with salts and sugars. What will be in your child’s lunch box the first week of school? The basic formula for a preschool lunch contains:

½ cup of juice or milk
½ cup of fruit
½ cup of a vegetable
½ cup of dairy
1 Oz protein
2 Oz grain

Preschool Lunchbox

-Extra water is a must in schools where children cannot freely get drinks of water.
-Days when you send milk, yogurt or cheese are not needed.
-Days when you send juice, a fruit is not needed.
-Watch even “good for you” types of food for added salts, sugars and artificial sweeteners.
-Be conscience of foods that have packages which read low-fat, fruit, veggie, or sugar (sodium) free. They may have ingredients that are less than healthy and contain little fruit or vegetable.
-Never send a food that the child will not eat at home.
-Never send soda or other 12 Oz canned drinks.
-Never send more that one serving of cookies or other “sometimes” foods.

Take the time to do a few practice lunches at home. Maybe you can pack a lunch and go to a park or the beach. Watch your child handle the items you pack. Are the containers easy to open? Is all of the food consumed? Can the child save the cookie until after other foods are eaten? Discuss the importance of the foods that are packed in a daily lunch with your child. Certainly ask the child for suggestions and note likes and dislikes. A pleasant lunch experience will help your child, classmates, and the teacher have a better school afternoon!