Pack A Better School Lunch

August 31, 2014

by Dorothy Lee, Escambia County Extension

It’s that time of year again.  With kids off to school they are  again faced with the important question: What’s for lunch? With childhood obesity on the rise, having a nutritious lunch is an important part of an overall healthful diet. Since most kids  consume one-third of their daily total calories at lunch, here are  some tips on helping them eat more super-nutritious foods:

  • Plan ahead. It helps to have all the right ingredients on hand for making the best lunch. You might even consider coming up with a weekly menu. Involve the kids in planning whenever possible.
  • Avoid last-minute rushing by preparing all or part of lunch the night before.
  • Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes with sandwiches, etc.
  • Make sure you always include at least one fresh fruit or vegetable – both is even better.
  • Hide special notes or cards in the lunch box.
  • Best beverage bets include skim milk, water or 100% fruit juice.
  • Try to use more low-fat snack and cookie items – see the list below for ideas.
  • Remember food safety. It is better if you keep foods chilled in insulated lunch boxes with either  an ice pack or frozen juice box.

And consider options when choosing ingredients for lunches:

Dorothy C. Lee, CFCS, is an Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Sciences with the Escambia County Extension Service.


2 Responses to “Pack A Better School Lunch”

  1. M. Allen on September 1st, 2014 8:19 am

    You would not have to worry about obesity in the children if the free and reduced lunches were the same as the lunch that is given to a child that normally pays for his /her lunch but the parent forgot to check the child’s lunch account. If they don’t have enough in their account they get plain cheese sandwich and milk. THIS IS SAD. All children should receive a free lunch. A normally paying child should not be treated because of an over site. This is very sad for our children and makes the system extremely unfair and needs to be changed to create a more level playing field.
    Molino mom

  2. melodies4us on August 31st, 2014 8:20 am

    Thanks for the great advise. I would like to add : when choosing whole wheat bread, make sure the package says” whole grain” and A head of lettuce is healthier to buy than precut lettuce. The precut lettuce in the bag has preservatives.

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