Thursday, December 20, 2012

Steps for a Perfectly Healthy Lunchbox:

1. Start with a PROTEIN . Make sure your selection provides at least eight grams of high quality protein -- protein can help stabilize your child's blood sugar level and keep them feeling fuller for longer periods of time. The following are some popular kid-friendly ideas:
* Turkey roll ups
* Cheese pinwheels ( low-fat sliced cheese rolled in whole wheat tortillas)
* Part skim string cheese
* Low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small bag of whole grain cereal
* Soy nuggets
* Vegetable bean or chicken noodle soup in a thermos
* Turkey              
* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich(use low-sugar jam and whole wheat bread)
* Grilled chicken and vegetable wrap
* Pasta salad with vegetables and shredded chicken (tossed in light Italian dressing)
* Scoop of chicken salad made with low-fat mayo plus whole grain crackers or mini rice cakes
* Turkey or bean chili in a thermos

2. Always include PRODUCE. When it comes to veggies, anything goes! The most popular kid-friendly raw varieties include baby carrots, celery, pepper sticks (especially red), cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. Favorite cooked veggies include sugar snap peas, string beans, broccoli, and corn on the cob. For fruit, toss in easy-to-pack, hand-held selections such as apples, bananas, peaches, plums, clementines, or grapes that are naturally low in fat and chock-full of nutrients and fiber.

3. Avoid CALORIC BEVERAGES. Don't let your kids drink their calories -- instead, save them for food. Pack appealing bottles of plain old water... Consider freezing their bottles the night before, so that they are still cold and refreshing by lunchtime.

4. Don't forget the FUN FOOD. If your child craves a sweet or salty treat -- throw one in. As long as snacks are portion appropriate and no more than 150 calories, anything can work (really). In fact, provide a variety of options and let your child select his or her daily fun food. Of course, shop for brands that avoid trans fat and high fructose corn syrup when you can. Try low-fat granola bars, 100-calorie packs, baked chips, soy crisps, 2 cookies, 4 Hershey Kisses, a Rice Krispie Treat, container of low-fat pudding, or even a fun-size chocolate bar.

5. Be CREATIVE. Put a smile on your child's face with a note from mom or dad, a temporary tattoo, or a fun riddle to figure out.

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