4 Things To Always Pack In Your Children’s School Lunch

posted: 09/08/16
by: Ashley Lauretta
sandwich with cheese and tomato for a healthy school lunch
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sandwich with cheese and tomato for a healthy school lunch

School lunches are a hot topic every year, especially as we continue to learn more about the type of lunches served at schools in other countries. For example, students in France are served four-course lunches, and in some places, lunch is served to students in a restaurant-like setting, so children can learn proper dining etiquette.

In the U.S., it is most often slapped down onto a tray as children move through a hasty line or brown bags contain soggy sandwiches and sugar.

So what can you do to make sure your children are getting a nutritious--and appetizing--lunch to fuel them for the day? Mandy Levy, Children's Nutrition Consultant at Nutritional Wisdom, says there are four things you can pack to set them up for success.

Quality Protein

"The number one thing to include in a healthy school lunch is a quality source of protein," notes Levy. "Some ideas include eggs, chicken, leftover meatloaf, high-quality deli meat (we love Applegate Farms) and hummus." She notes that if your school allows nuts, you can try to add nut butter, as well. Protein is what fuels the body, so adding it to your children's lunch is what is going to keep them alert and focused as the school day continues.

Fruits and Veggies

Preferably, you should try to include fresh fruit and vegetables in every lunch, if possible. "If you can't do fresh, dried fruit and dehydrated veggie chips are great snack," adds Levy. "They seem less like veggies when they are crunchy!" The vitamins and minerals your children need can be received naturally, before you even make them finish all of the vegetables on their plate during dinner!

Hydrate with H2O

Levy stresses the importance of packing water in your children's lunch, instead of juice boxes. With all of the added sugars and preservatives, the juices can be just as bad as a candy bar!

Healthy Grains

Finally, be sure you are giving them healthy, whole grains. "When you are looking at a sandwich bread, opt for sprouted-seed bread and bread that is made in small batches," explains Levy. "These don't have preservatives or chemicals that make them have a longer shelf life." These healthy grains are easier to digest and have more nutrients, meaning less chance of an upset stomach and better digestion.