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    School Lunches: Going Beyond Peanut Butter


    Still sticking to peanut butter sandwiches for school lunches? They’re a brown bagger’s favorite, but encourage your child to try other options.
    Some children will refuse any changes to their lunch routine and that’s OK—as long as what you’ve been sending with them is nourishing. Every week or so, though, parents should try to slip in something different. A variety of foods gives children a variety of nutrients and expands their palates.



    Get Kids Involved



    If your child is a picky eater; try getting him or her involved in grocery shopping and lunch planning. Getting a look at all the different kinds of fruit might encourage your youngster to try something new. Make sure lunches include protein, such as meat, cheese or nuts, and lean heavily on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Keep sweets and fats to a minimum. Purchase foods that are easy to eat, such as baby carrots, string cheese, or dry roasted nuts.



    Make Healthy Swaps



    Here are some more ideas to chew on:



    • Enliven a meat and cheese sandwich with baby spinach.
    • Try tortilla wraps, bagels, pita bread, whole-wheat crackers, or bread sticks.
    • Consider including hummus with your child’s favorite veggies for dipping.
    • Substitute fresh berries for apples or bananas.
    • Offer pretzels or popcorn instead of potato chips.
    • Trade sugary drinks for low-fat milk or water.



    To keep foods like chicken salad cool, freeze a carton of milk or juice to include in the lunch.
    Always consult your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional before changing your daily activity, diet, or adding a supplement.
    Visit your local Rite Aid for healthy and tasty lunchtime inspiration.




    “Banishing Brown Bag Boredom.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442465009&terms=brown%20bag#.UP9jbfLNmBt.


    “Lunch Is in the Bag.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org/kids/article.aspx?id=6442459372&terms=sack%20lunch.


    “Secrets to Making Healthy and Fun School Lunches.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/downloads/tip-school-lunches.pdf.


    “Tips for Eating Right.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/eat-right/tips-eating-right.htm.