Back-to-School: Packing a Healthy Lunch

After August’s all-consuming solar eclipse preparations, there are only a few days left to make back-to-school preparations. Here are some quick tips for healthy lunchbox packing so you and your child can avoid the many processed foods and hidden salt and sugars.

  • Lunchables may be easy, but they are full of sodium. For example, the processed ham, crackers and American cheese have up to 43 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake. Instead, make your own version with whole wheat crackers, cheddar cheese and organic ham. Instead of a chocolate sandwich cookie, throw in a piece of dark chocolate, and add a fruit such as grapes or apple slices.
  • Pack a water bottle. Don’t pack sugary drinks such as fruit juice, colas or Sunny D (which is only 5 percent juice.
  • Make a healthier PB&J. Choose whole grain breads; organic, natural peanut butter; and honey or organic, low sugar jam.
  • Substitute air-popped popcorn for chips.
  • Include fresh or tinned fruit. Include dried fruits, which are high in sugar, sparingly.
  • Include raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Add a dip if your child won’t eat them without it.
  • Make your own muffins to add fruit and avoid the processed, store-bought muffins, cookies and cakes.
  • If your child does not like sandwiches, try hard-boiled eggs as a substitute to add protein.
  • Experiment with fun things such as other nut butters, fruit kabobs, pasta salads, etc., to keep lunch interesting and healthy!

Also, remind your kids to brush and floss at least twice a day — morning and evening. Kids with braces may need to brush their teeth after lunch, but for those without, simply rinse your mouth out with water after eating. And make an appointment for your back-to-school check-up at Enlighten Dental Care!

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