The ABCs of packing school lunch

It's back to school time! As parents across the country rejoice, they also realize that their kids are still going to need to eat every day. And if they're going to eat something that's actually (gasp!) good for them, a little pre-planning and creativity is in order.

Packing a healthy lunch for your kids doesn't have to be rocket science (thankfully). You just need to remember your ABCs.

A - Aim for balance. A balanced lunch should contain a little bit of goodness from each food category. For inspiration, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to make sure you're providing enough protein, fruit, vegetables, dairy and grains.

B - Be creative. No one wants a boring lunch! Don't be afraid to mix things up by providing a variety of foods you know your kid will actually like (and eat).

C - Choose wisely. Pack a lunch that fits your kid. Keep in mind their age, level of activity and personality. More active kids will benefit from a heartier lunch, while young kids may prefer bite-sized foods like baby carrots or small sandwich sections. And if your kid actually has a rocket science class (well, aren't you proud?), don't forget to pack some lean proteins to help keep their mind engaged!

And don't forget about food safety! Dr. Janeal Yancey provides some simple steps to make sure those lunches spend as little time in the "danger zone" as possible.

  • Make sure you have an insulated lunch box or bag.
  • Use ice packs and make sure they're as cold as possible.
  • Put breads (good insulators) closest to the opening of the lunch box.

By following these tips, you can ensure your child's lunch is safe and nutritious!

About the Author...
Carolyn O'Neil
Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD – Nutrition Advisor

Noted nutrition expert, award winning food journalist and television personality CAROLYN O’NEIL, MS, RD shares her refreshing food philosophy.

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