Parents: How to pack your kids a healthy lunch

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Lunchtime is usually the highlight of the school day!

But when kids sit down with friends, make sure what is in their lunch bag is good for them. Be on the lookout for four important things.

"You want a protein, a grain, a fruit and a vegetable," says Kelly Schooley a registered dietitian with the YMCA.

Schooley says any parent can build a great lunch.

For example, take your traditional sandwich and switch it up to make it a Kabob.

"With this I did 100% whole wheat bread, some oven roasted turkey, a cherry tomato, cheddar cheese and spinach and then you just slide it on a stick," explains Schooley.

Toss in some pretzels, cucumbers and ranch and some grapes and you have a filling lunch.

Try using a whole wheat tortilla, add some chicken and vegetable mix inside with a small amount of sour cream and salsa. Add a kiwi and strawberry fruit salad and Schooley says your student will have a tasty and healthy lunch.

Snacks should be healthy too! Thinks hummus and veggies or a hard-boiled egg or fruit to keep kids full.

If you are worried about the time it will take, plan ahead.

"At the beginning of the week buy a bunch of fruits and vegetables, chop them up and put them in little containers so you don't have to do it in the morning," says Schooley.

Things to avoid are the overly processed quick lunch meals you can buy at the store. Also leave out sodas, instead, send water or 100% juice.

Eating habits form at a very young age, so do your best to make lunch as healthy as possible!

If you would like help from a registered dietitian like Kelley Schooley you can contact any Jacksonville YMCA to set up a session to talk about healthy eating. The cost typically runs around $40 for one hour.


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