Doctors at Boston Medical CenterOffer Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches
Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491 | firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT: It’s back to school time! What you pack in your child’s lunchbox can determine his or her appetite for learning.
WHO: Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Nutrition and Weight Management physicians are available for interviews regarding the importance of packing a healthy school lunch for your child.
WHY: According to Dr. Caroline Apovian, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at BMC, children who eat healthy lunches, with limited sugar, tend to learn better throughout the afternoon. While many schools are starting to offer healthier lunch menus for students, Apovian says packing a lunch is still the best option.
“One-third of children’s calories throughout the day are consumed at lunch, and we want to make sure those calories are nutritious and healthy,” says Apovian.
Apovian suggests parents make sandwiches with fat-free or low-fat, lean meats on whole wheat bread. Lunches should include at least one fruit or vegetable, as children need about five servings from the fruit and vegetable group every day.
“You can pack celery and a little bit of low-fat cream cheese or natural peanut butter for your child to dip into, or pack carrots and a little bit of low-fat ranch dip,” said Apovian. “Look for unsweetened applesauce or choose fruit cups packed in their own natural juice or light syrup, instead of heavy syrup. Fresh fruit in season is the best option.” Add crunch to lunch with other choices besides chips. Try packing trail mix, or almonds and peanuts, popcorn, or pretzels.
Other tips include:
• Packing low-fat cheeses or yogurt for snacks.
• Use fewer prepackaged foods because of their higher fat, salt and sugar content.
• Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
• For beverages, allow only low-fat milk, water or 100 percent juice.
• Involve your child in choosing and preparing foods he or she may take for lunch.
“Not only do most children want a say in what they are going to have for lunch, but parents can also use this time to teach them how to make healthy choices,” adds Apovian. “These lessons will, in most cases, stay with them for the rest of their lives.”