Back-To-School The MyPlate Way!
Aug 14, 2017
Pack Your Kids Lunch with MyPlate in Mind
At the start of a new school year, kids tend to be more excited about getting new pens, pencils and backpacks than anything else, but more often than not they are ready to put their thinking caps on!
One of the most important things children can do to ensure that they are focused, engaged and ready to absorb all the new information at school is to eat 3 balanced meals each day that are filled with wholesome and delicious foods and beverages!
Lunch makes up 1/3 of your kids nutritional needs for the day. Your child’s lunch at school is beneficial to helping them feel full as well as give them energy to learn and play! Having a good nutritional status has been linked to academic performance in school, which means what your child learns they will remember. Food is fuel for the brain and body and some “fuels” are better than others.
The question many moms have each morning before sending their children off to school – To pack or not to pack? If you have a picky eater in the family it can be hard to know for sure if your child eats enough whether or not they take a kid & mom-approved packed lunch to school.
Whether your child is a picky eater or not, for the most part kids are more likely to eat their lunch if they are involved in the “packing” process. Kids like having a role in choosing things they already enjoy eating as well as maybe trying new things and they will be more likely to eat most of their lunch at school!
When packing your kids lunches just remember they need all 5 food groups:
- Grains – (try packing whole grains that your child will eat, like Triscuits or corn tortillas)
- Lean Proteins
Treats are fine occasionally, but think back to when you were a child and what you would have ate for lunch and then ask yourself the question – Is my child going to eat their nutritious foods if I put this treat (brownie, candy bar, cookies, etc.) in their lunch bag?
Providing treats at home to your kids after they return from school or when it is appropriate can help you to control their portions of these foods as well as ensure that they are eating a nutritious lunch and not just ditching their 5 food groups for a candy bar.
Here are some ideas and a recipe to help you pack all 5 food groups in your kid’s lunch:
- 100% fruit cup, Baby carrots with ranch dip, ½ whole wheat pita pocket sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, mustard or light mayo, lean deli turkey or chicken (for pita pocket), and a piece of light string cheese.
- 1 medium-sized banana (for wrap), 6 sweet cherry tomatoes with veggie dip, whole grain tortilla (spread with the peanut butter and add the banana), 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (for wrap), low-fat container of yogurt or a carton of low-fat milk.
- 8oz 100% grape juice or apple juice, celery sticks (with peanut butter), whole-grain crackers (for tuna or chicken salad), 1/3 cup tuna or chicken salad, and a Chobani Champions yogurt tube.
- Diced strawberries & blueberries, sugar-snap peas with ranch dip or a cup of tomato soup, 2 slices whole-wheat bread for grilled cheese (or whole-grain white bread), 1 sandwich slice of Colby Jack cheese and 1 sandwich slice of mozzarella cheese (optional) for grilled cheese sandwich.
- Sliced orange wedges, sweet red and green bell pepper strips with hummus, 1 or 2 whole-grain English muffin halves with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese (mini pizzas), hard-boiled egg, and a carton of low-fat plain milk or chocolate milk
The Live Well Team