Tips for packing healthy lunches for students

| August 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Bag Lunch

The rush of getting the kids out the door in the morning can make packing a healthy lunch seem like an impossible burden.

The typical parent will pack around 200 school lunches yearly, and planning them all requires some serious nutritional skills. Not only do parents need to know how to choose healthy fare, but they need to know how to pick foods their kids will actually eat.

“When you plan your child’s lunches, be sure to choose items that are both healthful and fun,” says Edmond Sanctis, co-founder of Sahale Snacks, a producer of all-natural nuts and nut blends. “You want to select foods that are colorful and appealing and that provide energy and nutrients to get them through the day.”

  • Get creative with protein. Nuts and beans provide more fiber and less saturated fat than traditional proteins like meat, cheese, and eggs. Try making a bean dip from chickpeas or pinto beans and pairing it with crunchy vegetables, like carrots, celery, bell peppers or whole-wheat pita triangles. Or, add texture and sweetness to low-fat yogurt with a handful of nuts or granola.
  • Pack edible ABCs. Fresh fruits and nuts are a fun way for kids to get much-needed vitamins, from A to zinc. For example, oranges pack a wallop of vitamin C, blueberries are full of antioxidants, and almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and iron.
  • Portion control matters. Little bellies require smaller portions. While kids love opening crinkly bags of chips, the serving size may be too large and unhealthy. Instead, look for small portion packs, like .75-ounce bags of healthy nut blends, such as Sahale Snacks Cashews with Pomegranate or Almonds with Cranberries. Choose packaged foods made with natural sweeteners and flavors, like vanilla, honey and sea salt, instead of artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup.
  • Drinks are as important as foods. Once you’ve gone to all the trouble of choosing nutritious foods, don’t ruin your efforts by tossing soda into your child’s lunchbox. Opt for unflavored low-fat almond milk, water or 100 percent fruit juice. Many juice products only have small amounts of real fruit juice, so read labels carefully.
  • Make veggies special. Add extra flavor and crunch to salads with apple slices, nuts and dried cranberries. Or, mix in pre-packaged nut blends or seasoned nuts. For young children, consider blends combining tree nuts with dried fruit, like pomegranate. Older kids might like salads topped with more flavorful choices, such as Sahale Snacks Barbecued Almonds with Mild Chipotle and Ranch.

For more healthful, kid-friendly food ideas, visit

— StatePoint Media

Category: Back to School