KCTV: Packing healthy lunches as kids head back to school

August 16, 2018

It's that time of year again when you are back to packing lunches for you kids for school. Saint Luke's Cardio Wellness Center registered dietitian, Lindsay Nelson, gives some examples of what you want to pack in your child's lunch to help sustain them throughout the day. 

The food that children eat before school and during the school day can impact their behavior and grades. If a child eats a sugary and processed breakfast or lunch, they will have blood sugar fluctuations that can lead to irritability, fatigue and problems paying attention. However, when a child eats a balanced meal, they will have the nourishment and energy that they need to perform well at school and after-school activities.

It is important to save time when packing lunches and to meal plan. To get your children more excited about their lunch, let them make some of the decisions when you are meal planning. Ask them, “would you rather have peaches or grapes in your lunch this week?” Bring them to the grocery store and let them help prepack their lunches and snacks. 

For breakfast, you want your child to have protein that will help them last until lunch. Try some simple breakfast ideas like, a greek yogurt parfait with berries and honey for some sweetness. Another easy ideas is hard boiled eggs, an avocado and berries. These are simple breakfast ideas that old kids will be able to prepare themselves. 

Some ideas for healthy snacks include hummus and a cucumber or carrots, berries and buts, or a healthy granola bar, such as a larabar or RX bar. 

When packing your child’s lunch, remember four things: protein, fat, veggie and fruit. Here are some easy lunch ideas:

  • Hard boiled eggs, almond butter, celery, and blueberries
  • Cheese Stick, cashews, sugar snap peas, and raspberries
  • Grilled chicken strips, avocado, mini peppers, and a peach

Be careful of sugars hiding in some of the most popular items and try and look at the nutrition facts to avoid added sugars. Here are some substitutes you can try:

  • Instead of fruit snacks - try fruit
  • Instead of juice or chocolate milk - try water, plain milk or kefir, which is like yogurt
  • Instead of sugar yogurt - try plain yogurt, adding fruit, flax or chia seeds and a small amount of honey for sweetness.
  • Instead of a conventional granola bar - try a RX kids bar

Lindsay shared these healthy tips with KCTV. Watch the story below.