Food for Healthy Packed Lunches

Dr. Michael Wald, Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Dietician Nutritionist. Director of Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, P.C / 914-242-8844 (Ext. 1) / www.intmedny.com / www.bloodDetective.com

Around half of all children take their lunch to school – that’s 5.5 billion packed lunches every year. Unfortunately, many of them are unhealthy!

According to a Food Standard’s Agency study, nine out of 10 packed lunches contain foods high in sugar, salt and saturates and fewer than half contain fruit. Here’s how to pack a nutritious lunch for your kids…

  • Use wholegrain or whole meal bread, rolls and pitta and try ciabatta, mini baguettes, bagels and raisin or sun dried tomato bread for variety
  • Pack pasta or rice salads instead of sandwiches from time to time
  • Cut fat by using less butter, spread or mayo in sandwiches and choose low-fat fillings like lean ham, turkey, chicken, tuna in water, cottage cheese, Edam or banana
  • Add two portions of fruit – don’t just stick to apples and pears, though. For variety, add grapes, fruit salad, a slice of melon, a small box of raisins or a can of fruit in juice
  • Include cherry tomatoes, carrot and pepper sticks and add salad to sarnies
  • In the winter, fill a flask with vegetable, tomato or carrot soup – or even a casserole or stew.
  • Replace cakes, biscuits and chocolate with scones, fruit bread or low-sugar cereal bars (check the labels)
  • Swap fizzy drinks for water, unsweetened fruit juice, fruit smoothies, cartons of semi-skimmed milk or unsweetened yogurt drinks.

Healthy Snacks for Children and Teenagers

  • Fresh fruit – chop it into bite-sized pieces for young children to make it easier to eat or buy packs of ready-prepared fresh fruit slices or chunks
  • Mini boxes of dried fruit such as raisins or small packs of apricots or mixed fruit
  • Small packs of chocolate-covered raisins or nuts (avoid giving nuts to young children because of the risk of choking)
  • Chopped up vegetables such as carrot, celery and pepper sticks and cherry tomatoes with a favorite dip (look for those low in salt and fat if you’re buying ready-made dips)
  • Fresh popcorn made without salt or sugar
  • Whole meal toast with peanut butter and banana or low-fat soft cheese and tomato
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Unsweetened yogurt drinks or a pot of low-fat fruit yogurt or fromage frais
  • High-fiber cereal with semi-skimmed milk
  • Whole meal sandwiches filled with lean meat, chicken, tuna in water, cheese or egg and salad.
  • Small packets of unsalted nuts and seeds – try mixing with dried fruit.

 

 

Posted on September 26, 2012 and filed under Bounce, Editorial by Dr- Wald.