An acceptable school lunch for your child used to be some white bread and a few slices of baloney. Today, parents are much more aware of the health risks associated with processed foods, as well as high levels of salt, fat and sugar. With a few modifications, you can make school lunches that your kids will love but will be nutritious and satisfying.
Sandwiches are an old classic that, with a few twists, can be both healthy and delicious. Serve whole grain bread and avoid processed lunch meats. Use creative fillings such as light tuna with apples and raisins; cheese and cucumber slices; or hummus with roasted red pepper. Make a tuna or egg wrap in a whole grain tortilla, along with ranch lettuce and tomato. Add flavor with a dash of your favorite fat-free salad dressing.
In addition to a main course, a school lunch is more complete with a snack on the side. Instead of chips or unhealthy crackers, pack carrot and celery sticks with a ranch dressing or dip. Pack whole wheat crackers with a few slices of cheese, or a small container of nuts or whole wheat pretzels. Even a hardboiled egg on the side can work nicely as an extra bit of protein to complement a sandwich.
Avoid sugary drinks and pack a bottle of water for your child instead. If he wants something sweet to drink, look for juice boxes that contain 100 percent fruit juice. These juices contain essential vitamins and nutrients, and juices with pulp are generally high in fiber. Or replace juice boxes with milk, as long as your child has somewhere cool to store his lunch for the morning.
Unhealthy cookies may taste great, but they add calories that your child does not need. Look for cookies that are low in sugar and fat. Give your child yogurt to eat alone or as a dip for fruit. Cut up and pack melon, apples and grapes. Low-fat muffins and cereal bars are other healthy sweet treats.
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