Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Packing Lunches

Always wondering what to pack for the kids’ lunch?  What is nutritious and the children will eat?  Well, here are a few ideas that may make packing lunch less of a hassle.

                First, try to use whole grains instead of the white stuff as much as possible.  Bread, pita, pasta and rice can all be found in whole grain.  When making sandwiches try to spread on avocado instead of mayonnaise; avocados provide healthy fats and are packed with vitamins.  You can also add avocado slices and a squirt of lemon (the lemon keeps the avocado from changing color) for a new twist to old sandwiches.  Another way to jazz up lunch is to use hummus as a spread on sandwiches or as a dip for dunking fresh veggies and baked tortilla chips.  Hummus is made of chickpeas and sesame seed paste so it is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals like iron, manganese, B6, folate and many others.  Also try grilling chicken breast or broiling a roast, the cut it into thin slices and keep it in the refrigerator.  This is an easy way ensure your children are getting good  quality meat without added preservatives and nitrates, not to mention it is cheaper than buying cold cuts. 

                In addition to making sandwiches healthier, it is also important to pack healthy sides and snacks for your children.  Grapes, blue berries, apple slices, fresh figs, peaches and many other fresh fruits make great snacks for children.  They are loaded with vitamins and fiber, while their sweetness appeals to children’s taste buds.  Dried fruits make great snacks too and they are especially good sources of fiber and minerals but they are high in calories so only pack an ounce or two.   Dried figs, apricots, cranberries and raisins are all easy to pack, fun to eat snacks children love.

                Packing lunch is not an easy task but it is important children get healthy food that will help them learn and grow during their time at school.  Hopefully these tips will help make it easier and healthier.  And most importantly, your kids will love it.

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