Make Healthy Lunches Part of Back to School Plans

By Brandi Koskie and Kinsey Lowrey -

It's back to school season and that means moms, teachers and kids alike are preparing to wrap-up summer and launch another school year. With all the preparing you have to do, we want to make sure you don't forget about lunch.

Behind breakfast, this is the most important meal of the day for your child. It's a mid-day boost that will help them sail through reading, math and even gym class. An unfortunate truth is that the lunches in school cafeterias are extremely lagging in terms of providing healthy, nutritious meals. Even more upsetting is the fact that little can be done, or is being done, to improve these meals. Simply put, it comes down to budgets and money.

Packing your child's lunch can help guarantee your child is receiving a healthy meal that will help them stay focused and be motivated at school. Not only that, but it puts the nutritional control in your hands. Really, the same rules apply for packing your child's lunch as do for yourself.

  • Limit the amount of processed foods. This includes pre-made lunch kits, cookies, chips and boxed macaroni and cheese.
  • Pack water, milk, or 100% juice in a reusable bottle instead of soda or juice boxes.
  • Provide plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Make sandwiches on whole grain bread or whole grain tortillas.
  • Instead of sugary treats, pack a sugar-free pudding or gelatin cup or dried fruit.
  • Watch portion sizes.

Packing a lunch doesn't have to be a surprise every time your child opens up the bag. Make it a group effort in which you and your child plan the lunches together as part of your nightly routine before bed. That way your child has a say in the foods he or she will eat and you provide education as to why eating a healthy diet is important. You also create extra bonding time and lay the foundation for your child's health and their future food choices.

For more information on children's health, or to research your own diet, visit