RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Getting the kids ready to go back to school often involves shopping for supplies and clothes and attempting to establish a normal sleep routine. However, another key part of ensuring that children are prepared to tackle the new school year is sending them to school with a healthy lunch. Fortunately, getting an 'A' in flavor and nutrition is easier than most think.
Dr. Sherry Sakowitz-Sukkar of Valley Medical Group explain the many benefits to packing a healthy lunch. These include:
- Helping your child to remain alert, energized and focused in class
- Teaching your child about portion control and about eating a balanced diet
- Knowing what your child is and isn’t eating so you can ensure that he/she has balanced meals throughout the day
- Learning healthy eating habits at an early age can help with healthy food choices later in life
Below, she shares how to get even the pickiest eater to love a healthy lunch:
Switch white bread for whole grain: If sandwiches are a staple in your child’s lunch, the easiest way to make a change is to substitute whole grain bread for white. There are many varieties out there that will satisfy even the hardest to please.
Pack a rainbow: Fruits and vegetables are great sources of nutrition. Make fruits and vegetables more interesting. Pack green and purple grapes, colorful berries, dried apricots or mangos. Cut red and orange peppers into strips and send them with a fun dipping sauce like hummus.
Water, water, water: Juice may seem harmless, especially since the labels read things like "packed with fruit." However, juice adds a lot of unnecessary sugar and calories to your child’s diet. Consider rethinking what they drink and send a bottle of water instead of a juice box. Low-fat milk is also a good idea since it provides calcium and protein.
Think about temperature: Would you eat warm yogurt or cold rice? The temperature inside your child’s lunchbox is just as important as what is inside. Keep hot foods warm by sending them in a thermos. It also helps if you first fill it with boiling water for two minutes to retain some heat. Keep cold items like cheese or hardboiled eggs cool by using ice packs.
Valley’s Center for Pediatric Wellness and Weight Management provides a comprehensive program of medical and behavioral health care, nutrition services, and family support to help overweight and obese children and teenagers lose weight, improve their health, and reduce their risk of developing chronic illnesses.
To make an appointment for your child or to speak with a specialist at Valley Medical Group’s Center for Pediatric Wellness and Weight Management, please call 201-391-0846.