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Packing a Healthy Lunch

Ensure your child gets a much-needed boost of energy and nutrition from his midday meals by following these simple tips for packing a healthy lunch.

  • Include whole grains. Many breads, snacks and cereals are made with whole grains, so it’s easier than ever to make them part of your child’s daily diet. If he turns his nose up at brown whole grain bread, there are many white whole grain options available.
  • Supply fruits and veggies. Rinse and prepare cucumber slices, celery sticks, baby carrots, apple wedges, blueberries or strawberries at the beginning of the week and store in single-serve containers in your refrigerator. Let your child choose one veggie and one fruit to add to their lunch each day.
  • Offer calcium-rich options. Send along fat-free or low-fat milk (or a calcium-fortified milk alternative like soy milk), a yogurt cup, yogurt-based dip for fruits and veggies or low-fat cheese. Be sure to include freezer packs to keep these items cold, especially if there won’t be a refrigerator available to store your child’s lunch.
  • Provide protein. Whether in a sandwich (made with whole grain bread, of course!) or just rolled up on its own, lean turkey, roast beef or ham from the deli counter are a healthier alternative to fattier options like bologna.