School Lunches

The stores are full of back to school clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes and supplies.  School will be starting soon here and that has me thinking about school lunches and making sure my child is getting a healthy, nutritious lunch while away from our home.  Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has brought national attention to the processed nature of our school lunches.  On his site, you can find a List of 12 steps schools can take to improve the nutritional quality of their lunches.

One way to insure your children are eating healthy, non processed, chemical-free foods is to pack their lunch.  You also need to be aware of what you are packing your children’s food in.  Make sure to use BPA-Free containers, reusable drink containers, reusable lunchboxes, cloth napkins, and stainless-steel forks and spoons.   Very little trash is generated buy packing this way and is more economical for you as well.  Buying bulk instead of individually packaged items will reduce the amount you spend on groceries each week.  Additionally, prepackaged foods tend to be nutritionally inferior to unprocessed whole foods.

1)  It also helps if you include a variety of foods to include in your child’s lunch.  Let you children help select what goes in their lunch.  My daughter loves packing her lunch.  She will get her containers out, her lunch bag and put everything together.  It helps to have her involved and able to choose the things she likes.

2) The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests offering a range of colorful fruits and vegetablesprovides a more varied and complete nutrients.  Attractive colors also entice children into eating more variety. 

3)  Cut food into pleasing shapesto keep your child’s attention.  Slice the apple crosswise one day and quarter them the next.  You can also use small cookie-cutters for more variety.  You can make cucumber rings or cucumber cups, orange smiles or quarters, ect…

4) Young kids can be overwhelmed by large servings of food.  Remember to cut everything into manageable sizes.  When food is cut, less is wasted. 

* Remember that some foods spoil more easily than others.  Make sure to provide an ice pack if necessary. 

Fruit Ideas

apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, mango, pears, raisins, melon, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pineapple, plums, raspberries, strawberries

Vegetable Ideas

asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, green beans, salad, potatoes, peas, snap peas, soy beans, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini

Sandwich Ideas

 Bread– bagel, baguette, bread sticks, crackers, english muffins, pita bread, pizza shell, rice cakes, rolls, sandwich bread, tortillas

Condiments – almond butter, apple butter, smashed avocado, mashed banana, cheese, cream cheese, honey, hummus, jam, peanut butter, pesto, pizza sauce, pumpkin butter

Fillers – carrots, cheese, chicken, chicken salad, egg salad, hard boiled eggs, nitrite-free hot dogs, lettuce, shrimp salad, sliced avocado, cucumber, sprouts, tofu, tuna salad, turkey

Treat Ideas

Apple crisp, applesauce, baked chips with salsa, dried fruit, fruit bars, fruit leather, granola, homemade cookies, oatmeal bars, popcorn (air-popped), pretzels, trial mix, yogurt with fruit


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