Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Healthy Lunchbox Tips

Try these easy ideas for quick brown bag nutrition.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Lunch often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of getting kids off to school in the morning. You may prefer to give your child money for lunch rather than pack a midday meal. But it's worth reconsidering bag lunches because they often far healthier than standard cafeteria fare.

To make sure your child actually eats the healthy lunches you provide, try this advice from Hillary Wright, MEd, RD, a Boston-based nutritionist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and the mother of three boys.

Recommended Related to Food and Recipes

Eating Healthier the Canyon Ranch Spa Way

If you're eager to begin a new healthy eating regime, or get back in shape after too much holiday indulgence, Canyon Ranch spa is the place to go. Since 1979, people have visited the original Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Ariz. for rest, restoration, and support in developing -- and maintaining -- a healthy lifestyle. Today, Canyon Ranch has a sister site in Lenox, Mass., as well as spa clubs in Las Vegas, Kissimmee, Fla., and on board the Queen Mary 2. Even if you can't drop everything and...

Read the Eating Healthier the Canyon Ranch Spa Way article > >

Make the Grade With Lunch

"The most nutritious lunches include foods from at least three food groups, but that doesn't mean children must have the traditional sandwich, fruit, and milk for good health," says Wright. As long as youngsters eat a balanced and varied meal, it's perfectly fine to pack hummus, whole-grain crackers, and yogurt or leftovers from last night's dinner every day, as well as sandwiches.

The key is to respect your child's eating style and preferences. Some kids derive comfort from eating the same foods day in and day out while others balk at it. Work with your child, Wright says, and your child is less likely to drop lunch in the playground trash bin.

Get Kids Involved

Allowing children to choose and prepare their own lunch piques interest in the meal and makes it more likely kids will eat their own creations. Let your young child help make lunch the night before school for greater ease in the morning. You can help guide your children to the proper portions and healthy choices of whole grains, protein, and produce. Keep in mind, most elementary school-aged children are allowed a midmorning snack. Account for that when considering the amount of food you provide for lunch.

Make sure you have healthy fare on hand for your child to choose:

  • Whole-grain breads or crackers
  • Peanut and almond butters
  • Light canned tuna fish
  • Raw vegetables that can be cut into slices
  • Fruits
  • Encourage the kids to make sandwiches with whole-grain breads or bagels; tortillas; or colorful wraps. Try different sandwich fillings, such as tabouli mixed with feta cheese in a pita pocket, or a veggie burger.

For even greater buy-in, Wright recommends these simple steps:

  • Let your children pick out their own lunchbox.
  • Consider insulated lunch bags with room for a small freezer pack that allows you to send foods that must be kept cold, such as dip for fresh vegetables, yogurt, and orange juice.
  • Or use larger lunch bags to avoid squishing foods.
  • Have on hand small sturdy plastic containers for cut fruit, vegetables, dip, and lunch foods other than sandwiches.

1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

bloodstream
Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.