Healthy Packed Lunches

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Almost half of U.S. schoolchildren bring their lunch to school. We’ve gathered some easy tips for kids lunches that show handy and healthy swaps, as well as how to make sure there is a balance of proteins, carbs, fresh fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy—so your kiddos stay well-fueled, all day long.

Video Description: Pack healthy, to-go lunches with fresh snacks and a bento box.

Healthy & Wise: More Ideas for School Lunches

Packing a healthy and appealing lunch that kids will enjoy is a no-brainer. Simple planning is all that’s required. Choose foods that are well-balanced energy sources—complex carbohydrates, protein for kids, fruits and vegetables plus low-fat milk, just to name a few. Packing water to drink instead of juice or sugar-sweetened beverages helps to hydrate without added sugar.

Kid’s Lunches: Assembly Required

Pre-packaged lunches are popular with kids because they provide control-style lunches. Here are some fun and healthy “lunchable” ideas:
  • Assemble Your Own Pizza: Whole-wheat pita bread triangles, turkey pepperoni, cheese and a sauce for dipping.
  • Sandwich Assembly: Whole-wheat bread, lean deli meat, lettuce, cheese and a spread—avocado, hummus, or pesto makes a great spread.
  • Yogurt and Granola Mix: Granola (Sprouts has a wide selection of great tasting granola), dried fruit, yogurt, fresh fruit and some nuts.
  • Snack Attack: Baby carrots, snow peas, small sweet peppers, grapes, sliced cheese, multi-grain crackers and almond butter.

Switch This for That

Exchange processed and high-sodium foods for healthier alternatives—your kids won’t know the difference.
  • Replace processed lunchmeats with pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
  • Replace fried potato chips with baked kale chips.
  • Replace cookies with whole-wheat pretzels.
  • Replace desserts with fresh whole fruit.
  • Replace crackers with fresh, sliced veggies.