child health, children, education, health, nutrition, obesity, schools

Packing a Healthy School Lunch from Disney FamilyFun

1552854The nice people over at Disney FamilyFun have offered up some really great tips about packing healthy lunches and since I know making school lunch nutritious and fun to eat is a challenge I’m happy to share these creative ideas.

  • Use A Bento Box: Japanese-style bento boxes and their nesting compartments are perfect for kid-size nibbles. Best of all, when your child pops the lid, the entire spread is at her fingertips, which puts the carrots on par with the PB&J and grapes for super-easy grazing.
  • Sneak In Extra Veggies: If the produce in your kid’s lunch is making the return trip home, consider hiding it. Add finely grated carrots to tuna and chicken salad, swap lettuce for nutrient-dense baby spinach, or try Horizon’s new Little Blends yogurts, which offer surprisingly tasty fruits and vegetable combos, such as Strawberry-Carrot and Banana-Sweet Potato.
  • Add (More) Whole Grains: Pack whole wheat pretzels instead of other salty snacks. Or take a cue from nutritionist Barbara Storper, author of Janey Junkfood’s Fresh Adventure!, and make a checkerboard sandwich. Use one slice of whole wheat bread and one of white, then cut the sandwich into quarters and rearrange the squares to create the checkerboard pattern.
  • Offer Nutritious Snacks: Apples not making the grade? Try freeze-dried fruit, such as Brothers-All-Natural or Crispy Green. Another option from chef and school-lunch reformer Ann Cooper: homemade gorp. Kids can choose the ingredients, then mix up their own combinations each night before school.
  • Serve Low-Sugar Drinks: In lieu of traditional juice boxes, pack a juice-and-water blend, such as R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Sensible Sippers, or fill a thermos with flavored water (make your own or try a store-bought variety – just be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners).

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