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News in Youth Services

Monday, August 20, 2018

School Lunches

It's that time of year again we all dread - making school lunches. What we pack in the lunchbox has a huge impact on our child's energy level to help her learn.  It's important that the contents of our child's lunchbox ensure a steady stream of nutrients which will keep her energy up, blood sugar levels even, and allow her brain to learn.

When planning a balanced diet, remember to aim for a proportional amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.  Keep sugar, salt, and saturated fat to a minimum.

Think Protein

Sandwiches fuse the all-important trio of protein, carbohydrate, and fats.

  • Try these combinations:  nut butter (peanut, almond, or sunflower) and fruit-only jam, egg salad, or turkey and Swiss cheese.  
  • Switch out sandwich bread with an English muffin, tortilla, pita bread, bagel, or flatbread.
  • Not a big sandwich fan?  How about yogurt, hardboiled eggs, cheese slices or string cheese, bean and cheese mini-burritos, mixed nuts, or energy bars.
Complex Carbs - Don't leave home without them

Kid's rapidly growing brains and bodies need the fuel from complex carbohydrates, so don't shy away from them.
  • Find snacks made from whole grains like sesame sticks, breadsticks, pretzels, corn chips, cereals, and crackers.
  • The USDA Food Guide Pyramid recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  Lunchtime is a great time to sneak some in.  Pick fresh fruit that travels well, such as apples, grapes, bananas, oranges, bananas, pears, pineapple slices, berries, plums, and peaches.  Vegetables may be a harder sell but try carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, or broccoli along with some hummus dip or ranch dressing. 
  • Don't forget the treasures of dried fruit.  Raisins, dates, apricots, cherries, bananas, papaya and mango all pack a punch of fiber, iron, and minerals.
You Can't Forget Dessert

There are treats that will satisfy the sweet tooth while still achieving nutritional value.  
  • Graham or animal crackers (try to use the whole wheat flour kind), fig bars, granola bars, pudding, or a piece of chocolate.
  • Fruit salad can satisfy that sweet craving especially by adding a dash of yogurt and cinnamon, or applesauce sprinkled with raisins or craisins.  

Keep high-sugar fruit juices to a minimum or dilute them with water.  Try water or milk instead.

If you are looking for more ideas, don't forget to check out the library's cookbooks geared towards children.  Bring your child along with you to pick out some recipes you can do together.  Happy eating!  

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