Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: Packing easy, healthy school lunches

Posted at 7:39 AM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 07:40:53-04

It can be hard to come up with fun, creative — and most importantly, healthy — lunch options. A pediatric registered dietitian said packing your kids' lunches for school doesn't have to be a chore.

"You want to make sure you're getting all the different food groups in a lunch. So packing fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy. A lot of times. we're just packing a sandwich and chips or something like that," Evelyn Benden, a pediatric registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic Children's, said.

Benden said what your child eats really does matter, especially since it can affect their energy and ability to concentrate. She said kids' lunches don't have to be elaborate. Simple things like whole wheat crackers, deli meat, low-fat cheese and yogurt are all good options.

She also suggests chicken, hard boiled eggs, hummus, beans, nuts, carrots, apple slices or a peeled clementine.

If you're in a time crunch, Benden said to pack leftovers from dinner the night before in an insulated container. She really recommends meal prepping, though, as a big time saver.

"You don't want to put things in their lunch that they really don't like, because they're definitely not going to eat them. So maybe the foods that are harder, have home at dinner or on the weekends and pick things that they're able to eat," Benden said.

When it comes to cafeteria lunches, Benden said schools normally have to follow certain nutritional guidelines, but it doesn't hurt to look at the meals ahead of time, so you can tell your child what foods to pick.