Safe School Lunches

August 26, 2011

Packing healthy school lunches can get a little tricky. Follow these tips from the EWG for the best foods for your kids

Not satisfied with what your kids are getting for lunch at school? Well here are some great suggestions from The Environmental Working Group (EWG) that are healthy and environmentally sound options.

Gather a bunch of healthy easy recipes that work. There are kid popular suggestions all over the internet, so that your not scrambling to find what to prepare before school. When healthy ideas and ingredients are on hand, they're far more likely to land in the lunchbox! And kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they are clean and cut, and within reach.

The second suggestion from the EWG is to send less and better quality meat. Kids should eat small portions of the healthier, low-impact options. Why small portions? The average American eats far more protein than we need - kids get a whopping three to four times the recommended amount. Chicken and turkey are low-impact and low-fat options; you can even try alternative proteins such as hummus, nuts, yogurt, and whole grains.

The next suggestion is to pack more fruits and veggies. The USDA’s "My Plate" nutrition guidelines recommend half your plate consist of fruits and vegetables. Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season and refer to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen when choosing organic or conventional.

Instead of sugary beverages or even bottled water, send your kids to school with filtered water or milk in a stainless steel bottle. This way you will use less plastic and save money!

The next tip is to use reusable bags, utensils and containers as much as possible. Some simple steps to limit your waste include, stainless steel lunch boxes. If you do choose plastic containers, pick carefully (plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4 or 5 don't contain BPA and may be better options) and hand wash - the dishwasher's extreme heat can cause chemicals to leach. Always remember to pack a cool pack to keep temperatures within a safe range.

Putting a little thought into choosing foods for your kids and family can go along way. Having fresh fruits and vegetables available will increase consumption. Pack healthy and be healthy this school year.