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Believe it or not, it’s back to school time for many kids across the country. If you’re a parent who packs lunch for your kids, don’t despair! Here are five tips from three top registered dietitians to help you pack a nutritious, delicious and safe lunch your kids are sure to love.
Go to the market.
“I go to the market with my girls so we can choose together which foods, especially fruits and vegetables, they want to include in their lunches. This ensures their lunches don’t wind up in the trash or come back half eaten. Last year I was pleasantly surprised when I took my 8-year-old to Trader Joe’s and she told me she loves pomegranate perils which I now buy and pack regularly for her lunch.” ~Toby Amidor, MS, RD
Add a twist to favorites.
“Like most kids, ours love peanut butter and jelly. But we like to give them a little “more” than just PB & J, so we use different fruits to substitute for jelly. A favorite combination is peanut butter and grape, so we’ll slice the grapes in half and use those. Peaches and strawberries are good too. We feel great about giving them food they love and help them get more fruit in the diet (along with quality fat and protein from the peanut butter). It’s also super easy and packs really well.” ~Chris Mohr, PhD, RD
Think outside the (sandwich) box.
“Sandwiches are a go to for school lunch, but they’re not the only option. I love to make lunch kebab threaded with vegetables and protein like cheese, chicken, turkey slices or whatever your kids love. You can also send soup or pasta in a thermos, quinoa salad or any other leftovers from dinner. They make great next day lunches. ” ~Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN
Keep it cool.
“To make sure everything is safe to eat when they get to the lunch table, freeze a water bottle overnight and place in the lunchbox. That’ll help keep their food safe and give them refreshing ice cold water to drink at lunch time. ~Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN
Leave a loving note.
“Eating is not always about the food. I try to leave a note in my girls lunchbox at least once a week to remind them how special they are.” ~Toby Amidor, MS, RD
About the contributors: Toby Amidor, MS, RD, mother of three, is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day; Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, father of two, is the owner of Mohr Results, Inc.; and Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, mother of two, is the founder of Nutritioulicious.
What are your favorite lunch time tips for your kids?
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About The Author
Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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