Contributed by: NAPSA
Packing A Healthy Lunch (NAPSA) - If your children received a report card for the lunches they eat at school, what do you think their grades would be? When kids eat a packed lunch that is healthful and flavorful, from foods they've chosen, everybody goes to the head of the class. But, as in any other subject, getting an A+ in lunch involves a little homework.
"As a parent, it's up to you to decide what foods to offer and when," she explains. "Let your child choose foods from what you offer-and how much. For example, offer two to three choices for their packed lunch. For example, you might ask, 'Which fruit would you like with your lunch: a banana, an apple or a tangerine?'"
It's possible to present youngsters with lunch choices that are not only fun and tasty, but also healthful. For more fiber, make sandwiches with whole-grain bread, suggests Duyff. For an easy-to-eat sandwich, roll up turkey and chopped lettuce, or peanut butter and banana slices, or cheese and salsa in a flour tortilla. Fruit juice is a great take-along beverage choice; for better nutrition make sure it's really juice, not a fruit-flavored soda. If your kids choose juice to drink, offer them other milk-group foods as a source of calcium: cheese on a sandwich or a carton of yogurt.
"Be sensible about portions for kids. Adult-size portions aren't right for younger children, whose stomachs are smaller," adds Duyff. "Let your child's appetite guide how much to pack. If a child tosses or brings home part of his or her lunch, talk about why. Maybe you packed too much. The 'clean plate' or 'empty lunchbox'expectation may lead to overeating. Your child doesn't need to finish everything-if he or she feels full and is growing properly."
Kids of all ages like finger foods. Sandwiches or tortilla roll-ups are a great place to start: just cut them into child-size pieces. Raw vegetables are colorful, crisp and healthful-and fun as finger foods, too. Let kids decide which veggies to take: sticks of crunchy cucumber or green zucchini; "coins" of yellow summer squash or orange carrots; or small grape or cherry tomatoes. Include a small container of ranch dressing, yogurt dip or salsa for veggie dipping. Whole-grain crackers, cheese cubes or string cheese, and small whole fruits are easy to handle, too!
10 Tips for A+ Lunches
Remember to take advantage of every eating event as an opportunity to help kids learn to eat well for a healthy life. These tips can help.
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