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Healthy lunch and snack ideas for back to school


BACK-Healthy-lunch-and-snack-ideas
(BPT) – If schools and parents received report cards on the lunches they’re serving kids, most wouldn’t receive a passing score. Many lunches, whether served at school or brought from home, are made with bleached flour, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, hormones and trans fats. Studies have shown that these ingredients are linked to weight gain, defects in insulin and lipid metabolism, hyperactivity, increased risk of tumors, cancer, digestive issues, asthma, premature heart attacks, diabetes, and overexposure and resistance to antibiotics. Some of these ingredients are even banned in other countries.
As a parent, what can you do to keep your child healthy? Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company, suggests checking in with your child’s school to learn where foods are sourced, the nutritional values and ingredients in order to make informed decisions.
“The more highly processed foods are, the more likely they are to contain the seven unsavory ingredients. Meaning they are foods it’s best to find alternatives for,” says Laura Burbank, a registered dietitian with the Life Time Foundation.
“We encourage parents to speak with school nutrition directors and cafeteria managers about reducing the amount of highly processed and artificial items served in their lunch rooms, in favor of wholesome, real foods, and we’re able to help parents throughout that process,” Burbank says.
Until changes are made, Burbank advises actively engaging kids—starting when they’re young—in packing lunch at home. “Getting kids involved in packing their lunches makes them more likely to eat and enjoy them,” says Burbank. “They feel helpful and they’re learning along the way.” She says it’s important to include a protein, whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats with every meal, and provides some ideas below.
Lunch box option one:

* Lunch: turkey or ham sandwich with avocado and spinach on whole grain bread. Look for meat that is free of hormones, antibiotics, nitrates, artificial preservatives and other additives.
* Snack: orange slices and string cheese.
Lunch box option two:

* Lunch: grilled chicken breast, avocado and roasted bell pepper or shredded carrots in a whole grain pita with a Greek yogurt based dressing or pesto.
* Snack: apple slices and almond butter. If your child’s school has a strict nut-free lunchroom guideline, include Greek yogurt with vanilla and/or honey.
Lunch box option three:

* Lunch: a wholesome PB&J made with almond butter and 100 percent fruit preserves on whole grain bread.
* Snack: hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers with Greek yogurt based vegetable dipping sauce, or pita chips and peppers with hummus.
Healthier lunch room choices
Burbank notes that sometimes making lunch at home isn’t a viable option. If that’s the case, she suggests parents discuss healthy lunch room options with their kids, as studies have shown that in addition to nutritional benefits, healthier diets also associate with higher academic performance. Things to consider include:
* Choose a salad when available to include more vegetables in the meal.
* Choose white milk over chocolate milk to cut down on sugar intake.
* Choose 1 percent milk over skim or non-fat milk, the higher fat content is more satiating.
* Choose whole grain pasta over bread that may contain bleached flour and preservatives.
* Choose red pasta sauce (vegetable-based) over cream sauce (high in fat).
* Choose fresh fruit over canned fruit which may contain artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners.
Parents should also be encouraged to talk to the nutrition directors and cafeteria managers about reducing the amount of highly processed and artificial items in the school meals. The Life Time Foundation is a great resource for more information on this.
The Life Time Foundation partners with schools to help them remove highly processed and artificial ingredients from school meals by providing resources and assisting with menu development. For more information on how your school can get involved, visit www.ltffoundation.org.

Posted in Back 2 School, FeaturedComments (0)

Michigan Week – MI Products, My Michigan, My School Lunch


Please join with school foodservice programs across Michigan during the week of May 14, 2012 to celebrate Michigan products* in our school lunches!

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off

Packing healthy school lunches for kids


BACK-Healthy-Lunches(StatePoint)  Packing nutritious school lunches that kids will eat can be tricky. You want to make sure that all those healthy foods you carefully selected are not traded away for junk food or tossed into the trash.

With childhood obesity a growing problem, many parents are determined to find healthful but tempting school lunches for their kids.

“Just because a bagged lunch is nutritious doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun. Include a variety of foods your kids enjoy and get creative by packing colorful vegetables and fiber-rich fruits. And since kids love snacks, don’t fight it, pick healthy snacks and avoid junky chips and empty calories,” says Josh Schroeter, co-founder of Sahale Snacks, a producer of healthy, all-natural snack foods.

  • Make Favorites Even Better: Choose whole grain bread over white bread when making your child’s favorite sandwich. Substitute a whole wheat tortilla or pita pocket and kids won’t notice a difference. Choose lean lunch meats such as turkey or chicken and low fat cheeses. Use mustard instead of mayonnaise. Home-made bean or yogurt dip with vegetable sticks can be a tasty source of protein and fiber.
  • Go Nuts with Nutrient-Rich Snacks: Nuts and seeds make terrific protein- and fiber- rich snacks in lunchboxes. They contain heart-healthy fats and satisfy the craving for crunchy foods. Choose nut mixes with low sodium and no trans-fat or heavily processed sweeteners — and go beyond boring trail mixes. Liven things up with all-natural, kid-friendly glazed nut blends, such as Sahale Snack’s “Almond PB&J” blend of nuts, strawberries, raspberries and ground vanilla beans. “Parenting Magazine” recently recommended this treat as a calcium-rich energy booster. These snacks are available in grocery and health food stores, and won’t get traded away in the lunchroom.
  • Make Calories Count: Avoid packing refined carbohydrates and high fats together in one lunch. Substitution is key. If the main dish runs high in carbs or fats, add a side of veggies or fruit instead of chips or cheesy puffs. This cuts down on obesity-inducing foods that also might leave your child sluggish for the rest of the day. Substitute water for soda or juice, avoiding empty calories and sugar.
  • Play Dress-Up: Just because it’s made of vegetables, doesn’t have to mean boring. Dress-up a salad with nuts and dried fruit to make it more fun by adding crunch and sweetness. Mix in nuts, dried cranberries or apple slices. Or, opt for a pre-packaged nut blend that combines tree nuts with dried fruit like pomegranate or berries. Just be sure it’s not loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Select one with organic evaporated cane juice or some natural honey instead.
  • Let Kids Choose: Have children help with the shopping and preparation. Take a visit to the local farmer’s market where the kids can taste test and choose their favorite seasonal produce. Cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes, add happy faces with raisins and nuts, and make items bite size for small hands and mouths.

For more healthful food ideas and recipes, visit www.sahalesnacks.com.

“Getting kids to eat right can be challenging, but you can make it easier by only buying things you want them to eat and instilling healthy eating habits at an early age,” stresses Schroeter.

Posted in SchoolsComments Off