On Tuesday, July 30 the Strong4Life team met with several Mom-to-Mom Bloggers for a lunch-and-learn, and discuss ways to provide kids with a healthy lunch. Wendy Palmer, a dietician at Children's, showcased samples of lunches from local school cafeterias as well as examples of healthy bagged meals from home.
Children invited helped identify healthy vs. non-healthy foods ... because there are a couple of items that might surprise you!
If you want happy and healthy kids, please think about what goes in their plate. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories.
The key to choose the best food to put on your child's lunch-box is to always read the nutrition facts on the food label. Don't be fooled by words like vegetable, organic, or natural. Just because something is labeled as “good for you” it doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower numbers.
Making sure your child's bagged-meals are healthy and balanced shouldn’t be a hard thing to do if you learn to follow a few basic nutrition standards that support a better health for our kids. When you are packing your child's lunch always make sure you are taking the following precautions:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Switch to skim or 1% milk.
- Vary your
protein food choices.
- Make at least
half your grains whole grains.
- Drink water
instead of sugary drinks.
really all about letting kids enjoy the food they love however they
must learn to eat less, and avoid over-sized portions.
One of my little bluebirds favorite bagged-meals are salmon burgers in a whole wheat bun. Instead of using mayonnaise I like to make a low fat spread that consists of fat free sour cream, avocado, spinach, lemon peel, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I blend all the ingredients in the food processor until it has a smooth consistency. My daughter likes a little bit of arugula on top, while my youngest not so much. This is why I like to blend vegetables and incorporate them in different ways. When it comes to drinks I usually buy those 100% juices that are a blend of different fruits and vegetables. The kids say they taste just like a regular juice and you cannot detect the taste of vegetables in the juice. Watch out for the sugar content. Some brands have twice the amount of what it's recommended. So again, read, read, read. For snacks, we like low fat, low sodium baked chips, fresh fruit, and those 90 calorie snacks that are everywhere.
Do you have a favorite bagged-meal? Please share it with us. I would love to hear your ideas for easy and healthy back-to-school lunches.
*Some photos provided by our friends at Strong4Life.