As Summer comes to an end, it's time to get back into school mode. If its the first day, or lunch for a seasoned student, packing healthy balanced lunches for kiddos doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is a carbohydrate, some protein, healthy fat and a serving of fruits and veggies. Adding in some dairy products is also great for growing kids and healthy bones. Below is a list of foods from each category to get you started on creating balanced lunches this school year. Mix and match foods from each category for an endless amount of choices. Don’t forget to add in your family’s favorite fruits and veggies! If you or your family are having trouble deciding what sounds good, try making it a fun game. Get a dice and number some of the food options you have in your pantry from each category then let the dice do the work!
● Whole grain bread, tortillas, or crackers
● Pita chips
● Nut butter (also a healthy fat)
● Lean ground beef
● Turkey pepperoni
● Nut butter
● Foods cooked in olive oil or avocado oil
● Fatty fish like tuna and salmon have healthy fat
● 2% Milk
● Low fat yogurt
● Low fat cottage cheese
● Low fat cheese
● Low fat cheese sticks
● Portion out snacks or side items at the beginning of the week and let your kiddo choose which ones they want to go with their entree that day so they are more likely to eat what you packed.
● Plan ahead when you get groceries. Do inventory of the pantry and fridge to see what you need and create a list.
● Purchase in season produce for the best quality of the product and best prices.
● Trying making a greek yogurt ranch veggie dip with plain non-fat greek yogurt and a ranch seasoning packet.
Try fruit dips like mixing peanut butter, greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon for a fun treat to add with fruit.