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Send your children back-to-school with healthy and delicious lunches

The importance of back-to-school healthy lunches
Back to School (FILE)
Posted at 12:25 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 15:30:01-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of packing healthy and nutritious lunches for children when sending them back-to-school. This will help parents keep track of what their children are eating and helping them reach daily dietary goals.

“Many of our kids learned at home last year and we had easy access to the fridge and a full pantry at mealtime,” said Angela R Newton, MBA, RD, Senior Director II, Food and Nutrition Services, Morrison Healthcare at Adventist Health Bakersfield. “As families are now preparing for in-person learning, it’s time to start thinking about a different type of meal prep. The good news is a healthy lunchbox and healthy snacks can be easy to prepare and budget-friendly.”

AHA posted these four tips to help prepare nutritious meals for school:

1. Make a smarter sandwich

  • Choose 100% whole-wheat tortilla wraps (choose wraps low in saturated fat and made with no hydrogenated oils) or 100% whole-wheat pita pockets for the bread.
  • In addition to lettuce and tomato, add veggies like shredded carrots, cucumbers or fruit like sliced apples and pears.
  • Try avocado or hummus instead of cheese or mayo.
  • Use leftovers wisely – grilled chicken or grilled veggies are a great replacement for lunchmeat.

2. Love those leftovers. Leftovers from a family favorite dinner can be great for lunch the next day. A thermos can help keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until the lunch bell rings.

3. Let them dunk. Let kids play with their food. Here are some ideas for fun dunks with dippers for snack time:

  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat yogurt or peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery, and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  • Whole-grain crackers (use low in sodium and saturated fat versions made without hydrogenated oils) or slices of grilled tofu to dunk into soup.

4. Get them involved. When kids help pack their lunch or choose snacks, they are more likely to eat what they prepare or select. And you can use the time together to teach children about healthy choices.

Additional Resources

· heart.org article: Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children

· Video: How to Make 5 Healthy School Lunches, Ready in 10 Minutes

· Heart and Stroke Statistics