Healthy School Lunch: Great Ways To Pack Your Kids a Healthier Lunch

When packing a healthy school lunch, it is important to consider how much sugar might be hiding in some of the processed foods or snacks. A sack lunch from home can be a cheaper and healthier alternative to the school cafeteria, but it all depends upon what you pack. Often, healthy school lunch contains processed foods with many hidden sources of sugar. Some of these sources are disguised using words that sound “healthy.” Many kids can end up consuming upward of 150-200g of sugar, or possibly even more, by eating foods that are labeled as “healthy foods.” Healthy school lunches can be an essential part of healthy daily meals. As your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE, we have some great tips to help your kids a healthy school lunch makeover that even their dentist will approve of!

apple sauce not a good Healthy School Lunch snack

Healthy School Lunch:
1. Say No To Applesauce

What is a seemingly practical and portable addition to a healthy school lunch is applesauce, but this snack is loaded with its own natural sugar as well as added sugars, which promote cavities.  Try your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE tip and pack a small container of cottage cheese. If you want to get creative, throw in some blueberries or sliced strawberries for extra flavor!

banana fresh fruit

Healthy School Lunch:
2. Choose Fresh Fruit

Fruit snacks and fruit leathers are popular for healthy school lunch ideas among kids, but not among dentists for children in Lincoln, NE. These snacks are sticky and will cling to teeth, encouraging the build-up of plaque. Go for the real deal instead! Offer slices of banana, apples, or strawberries. You can also try no-prep options for your healthy school lunch like grapes and mandarin oranges, which are both great alternatives.

milk

Healthy School Lunch
3. Plain Milk is an excellent choice

A terrific source of calcium is milk, but flavored options such as chocolate, strawberry, or even cotton candy, contain added sugars that can cause decay. Instead, swap out these sweet options with plain milk, which will cut out unnecessary sugar. If you want to spice up plain milk, you can try adding a drop or two of food coloring. If your kids don’t like milk, string cheese would be another excellent dairy option for a healthy school lunch.

yogurt probiotic

Healthy School Lunch
4. Get Yogurt With Probiotics, Good Bacteria

Probiotics are good bacteria that help kids have a healthy mouth by preventing those unwanted cavities. Probiotics can help kids have a healthier GI tract and fewer stomach aches. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE recommends probiotics as a daily supplement for adult patients as well. There are several varieties of yogurt, and many of them have probiotics, but also many of them have high amounts of sugar. Look for Greek yogurt with probiotics and sugar should ideally be less than 15g.

cracker snack

Healthy School Lunch
5. Skip Starchy Snacks

Salty snacks like pretzels, chips, and crackers might seem okay to add to a healthy school lunch because they are low in sugar, but don’t be fooled. Simple starches such as those just mentioned can be just as bad as sweets, if not worse. These snacks break down into a sticky, gooey substance, coating teeth and ultimately resulting in cavities. Looking for some crunchy alternatives? Try sunflower seeds, almonds, or even baby carrots. Other savory snack ideas, although not crunchy, can include hard-boiled eggs and chunks of cheddar cheese.

colorful veggies, a part of a Healthy School Lunch

Healthy School Lunch
6. Choose Colorful Vegetables

Add some color to life by giving your kids an assortment of colorful vegetables. Kids are more likely to eat a snack that looks appealing. The different colors feature different vitamins and minerals. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE recommends eating lots of red and orange veggies because they are typically high in Vitamin C (good for gums), while leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of calcium (for strong teeth). Consider cherry tomatoes, strips of red and orange bell peppers, or even steamed broccoli with melted cheese. Don’t forget about fun-to-eat snacks for your healthy school lunch like snap peas and edamame; they’re great too!

Check out the “6 Great Ways To Pack Your Kids a Healthier Lunch” Infographic 

(Click infographic to enlarge)

infographic 6 best ways to pack you kids a healthier lunch

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