Rather than purchase a school lunch, a number of students would rather bring a "sack" lunch from home. However, not all items brought from home are equal in nutritional value. To enrich the healthy lunch options your child has, consider the following items as you pack your next sack lunch:
- Proteins: Use a variety of lean meats, such as slicked turkey or chicken breast. Other good sources of protein are low-fat cheese or hard-boiled eggs.
- Grains: Use whole-wheat bread for sandwiches. If your child is tired of sandwich bread, try whole-wheat pocket or pita bread, tortilla wraps, or rice cakes.
- Dressing: Try mustard, light mayonnaise or low-fat salad dressing as a spread. If your child likes butter, try tub margarine. Salsa also makes a great dressing.
- Fruit: Use any fresh fruit in season, applesauce, or fruit cocktail cups (packed in fruit juice, not sugar syrup). Keep lunch interesting my choosing different fruits on occasion.
Vegetables: Use all the colors! Pack an assortment of carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, green and red pepper strips, celery, broccoli or cauliflower florets.
Dairy Products: Jazz up a low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit or low-fat granola. Send string cheese.
- Beverages: Water and low-fat (1% or skim) milk are the best options for students. If your child brings a lunch from home, he or she can purchase a milk for $0.40.
- Food Safety: Place an ice pack in your child's lunch box to keep cold foods cold.