Healthy Lunches

March 28, 2014

The difficulty in getting your child to eat a healthy lunch often ranks up there with getting them to clean their room. Often, busy schedules, picky appetites and limited nutrition knowledge can result in nutritional gaps and deficiencies in our children. Don’t worry though, getting your child to eat a healthy packed lunch is possible, and can even be fun, with these tips from Stephanie Sussman, MD of Washington Health System Pediatric and Adolescent Care- Waterdam.

Dr. Sussman, advises that preparation and knowledge are the best tools for packing a delicious and nutritious lunch. Make a strategy for your shopping trip by planning lunches that your child will be excited to eat. It’s important to involve them in the process. Ask your child to help you think of healthy lunch ingredients by letting them select their favorite fruits and raw vegetables.

When you’re in the grocery store, watch out for these common pitfalls. Packaged food like snack cakes and chips are usually loaded with sugar or sodium and provide little nutritional benefits. Fruit snacks can be deceiving because they are also packed with sugar and provide hardly any of the benefits of real fruit. Also, make sure to check portion sizes on the package.

Variety is key. Shake up the typical turkey sandwich by adding sliced avocado or shredded carrots rather than the typical lettuce. Instead of adding an apple every single day, keep your child guessing with sliced kiwi or melon balls. Children also love to dip. Pack an individual portion of hummus, nut butter or salsa for them to dip carrot sticks, whole grain crackers or apple slices in. Dr. Sussman advises sticking to known favorites in the lunch box; save new foods for home. This reduces the chance that they will throw out uneaten food.

Finally, when packing a lunch, food safety is incredibly important. Let your child pick out an insulated lunch box in their favorite color or character theme. Tuck an ice pack in with their food to keep everything fresh. If you’re packing something hot, like soup, invest in an insulated thermos.

If you are looking to speak to a physician regarding your child’s diet, schedule an appointment at Washington Health System Pediatric and Adolescent Care- Waterdam 


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