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Packing Healthy Lunches

The foods you pack for your child will give them the energy and nutrients they need to learn and play at school. Work together with your child to create healthy and tasty lunches using these ideas and planning tips:

Fit in 3 of the 4
  • A healthy lunch includes foods from at least three food groups.
  • Vegetables and fruit need to be one of the food groups and so does milk and milk alternatives.
  • Vegetable and fruit ideas: red, green or yellow pepper strips, baby corn, peas in a pod, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower or broccoli trees, apple slices or orange segments, melon balls.

Healthy Teeth Tip: Veggies and fruit are called the detergent foods. They clean the teeth naturally. As your crunch on fruits and vegetables you are helping to clear away plaque and cavity-causing bacteria from your teeth. Plus, some vegetables help our bodies make vitamin A, a nutrient needed for building strong teeth.

Mix up the grains
  • Try using pita, flatbread, tortilla, bread sticks or cereal instead of bread to make lunch more interesting.
            o If you’re not used to eating whole grains, mix white rice
               with quinoa or wild rice, mix whole grain
Make room for milk
  • Include milk and milk alternatives like yogurt dip (tzatziki) for vegetables, cheese cubes, cheese string (not a processed cheese slice) or milk or fortified soy beverage.
Healthy Teeth Tip: Milk products are healthy for the teeth. Especially cheese - it has shown to neutralize the acid in your mouth that causes cavities. Cheese also creates a protective film on the teeth which helps prevent cavities.

Pack a protein punch
  • Try meat and meat alternatives like tuna, salmon, or chicken salad, hard cooked egg, ham slices, or hummus.
  • Choose canned meats that are packed in water.
Healthy Teeth Tip: Fruit snacks or bars, fruit leather, dried fruit, and other sticky snacks are not a good choice for your child’s lunchbox because they are bad for your teeth. They have sugar in them that sticks to the teeth and can cause cavities. Choose fresh or canned fruit instead.

Make it fun!
  • Let your child help you choose or pack their lunch.
  • Make homemade ‘lunchables’ – kids love to build their own! Include whole grain crackers, cheese and some tuna or beans in a divided container and let them build their sandwich. Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste - your teeth will love you for it!

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