Thursday, July 24, 2014

Be Sure You Are Packing Healthy Sack Lunches

Contact: Tammy Roberts
Nutrition and Health Education Specialist
Telephone: 660.679.4167

BUTLER, Mo. -- What a child eats impacts their learning and behavior, as well as growth and development.

That is why Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says it is important to provide a healthy variety when packing a child’s school lunch.

“Lunch that a child takes to school should include a good source of protein, a good source of calcium, grains and a fruit or a vegetable,” said Roberts.

Roberts recommends letting children help make the decision about what goes in their lunch.

“Let them choose from a list of healthful foods. Have them help you prepare it,” said Roberts.

Lunch preparation can be easier if most of the ingredients such as dried fruit, crackers and pretzels are individually packaged on the weekend.

For the grain choice, remember children need whole grains too.

“There is now white bread that is actually whole grain. Other whole wheat choices could include crackers, pita and tortillas,” said Roberts.

Protein foods could be a lean meat, tuna, or peanut butter. The possibilities for fruits and vegetables are endless according to Roberts.

“Vegetables with dip are always a hit. Dried fruit can be a good alternative and yogurt and cheese are great calcium options,” said Roberts.

It is also possible to get several food groups into one entrée according to Roberts.

For example, try a lean ham sandwich on a bagel with low fat cream cheese, grated carrots, and a slice of pineapple. Another option would be a pasta salad with cheese chunks, fresh vegetables, grapes and sunflower seeds.

“Keep in mind that kids like to trade their food so try to send things you know your child will not want to trade,” said Roberts.



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