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Five Tips For Packing A Healthy School Lunch

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national non-profit founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity, have tips for parents on packing a healthy school lunch for their child. Boy with healthy school lunch

American kids consume 35-50 percent of their daily calories while in school; that is why schools are such an important part of the fight against childhood obesity.  Along with these ideas to make sure your child heads out with a healthy school lunch, the Alliance offers more tips and tools online to get your family eating right.

In January of 2011, the Alliance announced groundbreaking voluntary agreements with school meal manufacturers and distributors to make healthier school meal options less expensive and easier to identify.

Here are five tips for packing a healthy school lunch:

  1. Mix it up. When deciding what to put in your child's lunch box, try to mix it up and offer your child food from different food groups. This not only offers variety but it ensures a more balanced meal.
  2. Make the switch. Swap the white bread for whole wheat varieties for added boosts of fiber. Also switch from fatty meats to low-fat alternatives such as lean turkey or chicken breast.
  3. Hold the mayo. Skip high-fat mayonnaise and other condiments. Instead use something with more flavor and fewer calories like mustard.
  4. Give it a second chance. Use leftovers from dinner like salad, pasta, rice, chicken and other healthy options - put in a portable container and voila!
  5. Keep it simple. Avoid packaged "convenience" foods such as full-calorie soda, chips or cookies. These not only add up to a lot of excess fat, sugar, sodium and calories, but they can lead to an afternoon "crash."

When packing a school lunch for your child try to include:

  • One serving of vegetables or salad and one serving of fruit (fresh, canned or dried can all count);
  • A serving of a low-fat or fat-free milk or dairy item such as a low-fat cheese stick, a yogurt cup or some cottage cheese;
  • One serving of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, peanut butter, beans or another protein source; and
  • A healthy drink such as water or 100 percent juice.


Source: Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation's leading public health threats - childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child's health: homes, schools, doctor's offices and communities.

Posted February 25, 2011

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