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Healthy School Lunches Made Easy

As parents and students prepare for the back-to-school season, it's important to prioritize a healthy lunch that will provide the energy and nutrients needed to power through the day. Here are five tips for packing a nutritious school lunch to keep your child fueled and focused. (Psst - these same tips go for packing your own lunch, too!)

Incorporate Protein 

Protein is a crucial component of a healthy lunch, as it helps build and repair tissues, boost the immune system, and keep you feeling full for extended periods. Try packing a sandwich made with turkey or chicken breast, adding hard-boiled eggs to a salad, or including a container of hummus or nut butter for dipping with carrots or apple slices. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and string cheese are great protein sources.

Choose Whole Grains 

Regarding carbohydrates, it's important to choose whole grains over refined grains for their higher fiber content and slower digestion, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you satisfied for longer. Swap out white bread for whole grain bread or wraps, choose whole grain pasta or brown rice for pasta salads, and pack a serving of whole grain crackers or pretzels for a crunchy snack.

Pack Fruits and Vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for good health. Pack a variety of colorful produce to keep lunch interesting and offer a range of nutrients. For example, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and sliced bell peppers make great crunchy snacks, while berries, sliced apples, and mandarin oranges can satisfy a sweet tooth. Pre-cut fruit cups or vegetable cups can also be convenient.


Ditch the Sugary Drinks 

Instead of sugary juices or sodas, opt for water to hydrate and provide essential nutrients. To add flavor to water, infuse it with slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber. If your child prefers a sweet drink, consider packing a can of flavored sparkling water, which satisfies the sweet tooth without the sugar.

Choose Healthy Snacks 

In addition to a main lunch, it's important to pack healthy snacks to keep energy levels up throughout the day. Opt for snacks high in protein and fiber, like trail mix, Greek yogurt, or string cheese. Fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables with hummus, whole-grain crackers, or rice cakes are also great options.

A healthy school lunch can make all the difference in providing the energy and nutrients needed to power through the day. You can pack a lunch that will keep you or your child fueled and focused by incorporating protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy snacks. Remember, healthy eating habits are essential for overall health and well-being, so take the time to plan and pack a nutritious lunch that will help to build lifelong healthy habits.

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