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School Lunch Ideas!

March 11, 2010

We are a little more than half way through the school year. Are you running out of ideas for lunches??
My good friend Mari wrote up School Lunch Ideas!
Here is her post!
School lunch ideas
So I said I’d give you information about soaping this time but I changed my mind. Since school is staring soon, I thought I’d pass on some information I received at a Healthy School Lunch class I attended at the YMCA.
First of all you should sit down with your child to find out their likes and dislikes, although many of us know them perfectly well already. Second, if your child is in elementary school you should make their lunches fun. Third, you need to go to to check what the recommended dietary guidelines are for children and put their lunches together according to that. It’s a lot of work, I know, but well worth it!
Here are some examples the dietitian suggested for lunch entrees:
* Deli Sandwich with Boars head meat (why boars head? Because it’s less processed than the regular cheap stuff, i.e healthier option)
* Pitas
* Whole grain tortilla spread with peanut butter and jelly
* Burritos
* Fruit kebabs
* Tortellini and veggies tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese
* Homemade pasta salad
* Hard boiled egg with a side salad
* Home made whole grain pizza
* Mini bagels with low fat cream cheese
* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread
* Quesadilla with whole grain tortilla, organic chicken strips and organic shredded cheese
Lunch sides:
* Fresh fruit
* Veggies
* Melons
* Fresh berries
* Yokids squeezers (yogurt in a tube)
* Organic milk in a 1 serving container
* Cheese sticks
* Granola
* Trail mix
* Blue organic chips
* Pop corn (flavored with a sprinkle of sea salt/Himalayan crystal salt)
* Veggie chips (only occasionally because they are deep fried)
* Whole grain gold fish
* Whole wheat pretzels
Watch the portion sizes on the gold fish and pretzels, they need to be on the smaller side because of the calories.
* Berry or apple sauce (no sugar added)
* Trail mix
* Newman’s Own Fig Newtons
* Deceptively Delicious Chocolate chip cookies (recipe can be found here)
* Fat free pudding
* Animal crackers
* FiberOne muffins or homemade healthy muffins
* Skim/2% milk
* 100% juice box
* Water
Read your labels when purchasing foods because you will want to avoid transfats, dyes, artificial sweeteners (Splenda, aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, sucralose, neotame and acesulfame potassium). One thing I’d like to point out is that your packaging may say 0% transfats but as you read the label, it may still contain some transfats. If that’s ok with you, then go ahead and make your purchase. I don’t purchase anything with transfats in it no matter how minute the amount because I have been able to find organic options that are not only healthier but often times much tastier than the original product. You may want to consider going organic anyway as it is the higher quality food for our bodies and especially for the little ones.
You are also going to want to avoid all products that have MSG or Monosodium Glutamate in them as MSG is a powerful toxin to our bodies. Why do they put it in food? Because it enhances the flavor they say. MSG can also be found under the labels of hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extract, protein isolate, spices or natural flavoring. Any one of these labels are present in probably most of the foods we eat so how to avoid it? Buy organic! It costs more but is well worth the cost as you will keep your children healthier. You can also make breads, crackers, cookies, tortillas etc. at home so lets dust off the stove and get busy! I could write pages and pages on this subject because I feel strongly about this but I think enough said, let’s move on.
Now here are some options for nutritional upgrades. First I’m listing the typical lunch, then the upgrade and why it’s better.
*Beef bologna on white –> lean turkey on whole wheat –> Less fat and more fiber
* Mayonnaise –> lettuce and mustard –> less fat and fewer calories
* Potato chips –> Carrots and celery with light dressing –> Less fat and a serving of veggies
* Fruit cup in light syrup –> Fresh grapes –> Less sugar and fewer calories
* Chocolate sandwich cookies –> Homemade trail mix –> Less fat and more fiber
* Fruit punch drink –> Skim milk –> Fewer calories, less sugar, plus calcium
If your child eats the typical lunch starting with beef bologna and ending with fruit punch drink, (s)he will have eaten 980 calories, 48 g fat, 13.5 g saturated fat, 125 g carbohydrates and 59g sugar. YIKES!!!!
If your child eats the nutritional upgrade lunch, the tally is 725 calories, 13.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 120 g carbohydrates and 52 g sugar. Much better!
We also talked about Lunchables in our class. You know, the already packaged crackers, cheese, meat, apple sauce and cookie package that many parents slip into their kid’s backpack for lunch. Not a good thing! There are several things wrong with Lunchables: too much sodium, highly processed meat & cheese, transfat filled cookies & crackers, and the apple sauce is laced sugar. Maybe occasionally if you are in a pinch but not regularly!
One last thing before I sign off is that reading labels today is a must! It may be tedious and you may need a magnifying glass but it is a must!! Things are hidden in today’s food that not even the critters outside will eat. An example: I made a cake from a box and frosted it with frosting from a can. My kids accidentally dropped a piece on the lawn and I didn’t bother to pick it up because I thought the critters will have a party. 2 weeks later the piece was still sitting there, untouched! The critters seem to be wiser than me when it comes to nutrition ;o)
Till later!
PS. If you need BPA free containers, go check out laptop lunches.
If you need recipes, go to Whole Foods.
If you want your child’s lunch containers to find their way back home, then you’ll need the waterproof stickers at Name Bubbles.