What Are Your Kids Having for Lunch?
How to help your children eat healthy at school
If your children want to buy their lunch at school, encourage them to choose
the salad bar, if that's an option, says McAllister. Lean ham, shredded cheese,
fruits, and vegetables are good choices, she says.
Avoid Brown-Bag Boredom
If you run out of fresh ideas for brown-bag lunches, here are a few
suggested by Jody Villecco, Whole Foods Market's top nutritionist, and Jyl
Steinbeck, author of 10 cookbooks for healthy living, including the upcoming
Busy Mom's Make It Quick Cookbook:
- Mozzarella cheese sticks with baked tortilla chips, a container of salsa,
and orange segments
- Fruit, cheese, and meat kabobs: Alternately thread turkey (or other low-fat
meat), cheese cubes, bell pepper, and pineapple chunks on Popsicle sticks.
- Yogurt parfait: A 6-8 oz. container of low-fat yogurt, a snack pack of
low-sugar, high-fiber cereal, berries, grapes, apple slices, and/or banana
- A low-fat tortilla spread with low-fat cream cheese, sprinkled with
shredded carrots and raisins.
- A pita pocket stuffed with lunchtime favorites like tuna, turkey and/or
cheese, and chopped vegetables (or with peanut butter and jelly).
- Cinnamon-raisin pita bread stuffed with cream cheese and grated
- Whole-wheat bread with peanut butter, banana, and chopped dates.
- A hollowed-out red or green pepper stuffed with tuna salad.
- A hollowed apple filled with a mixture of farmer cheese, granola, and
- Scooped-out dinner rolls filled with tuna or egg salad.
Even if you pack the most delicious lunch imaginable, it's not likely you'll
be able to keep your children away from the vending machines 100% of the
Not to worry, says McAllister -- as long as your children don't eat the
snacks instead of a healthy lunch, and as long as they don't overdo it.
"As long as most of your child's lunches are healthy, an occasional
soda, bag of chips, or candy bar is not a problem," she says.
Not all vending-machine choices are bad, either. The Center for Science in
the Public Interest notes that some of the best ones include unsweetened
applesauce cups and fruit cups, cereal mix, low-fat milk, granola bars, dried
fruit, bottled water, and 100% juice