School is back in session and that means parents are back at it planning packed or school bought lunches for their children. Packed lunch is typically more nutritious, and will save you tons every month, especially if you also pack a lunch for yourself, not just the kids!
Packed lunch goals
The basic of packing a good lunch is to include carbohydrates, proteins and good fats for a balance of energy and nutrients you need for the day.
Carbs are not enemies
You need carbs for energy and focus, and growing kids need them to grow and develop as they need lots of energy for their heightened activity levels. Cutting back on carbohydrates causes the body to require fat stores to be converted into the energy the body needs. This can instinctually trigger hunger centers that can lead to children making bad diet choices to get quick energy.
So include them in your packed lunch! Use a bagel, pita wraps, whole grain tortillas for sandwiches. Consider crackers to pair with cheese to get both dairy and carbohydrate groups covered or sweet potato chips for the satisfaction of something crunchy.
Protein for growth
We don’t need to tell you that kids need protein to grow. It’s also essential for heart and brain function, no matter our age. Pack almonds or nuts and cheese as snacks with crackers, and lean turkey, roast beef, ham or peanut butter for simple, high-protein sandwiches. Remember to choose bread with grain or whole wheat. There are lots of alternatives for children with allergies as well (sunbutter wow butter, gluten free breads etc.)
Healthy fats for brain food
You don’t need a lot of fat. The fat in full-fat yogurt is great. Avocados are really great sources of the right kinds of fat, if your kids are into them. For pickier eaters, nuts and cheeses are good sources of fat, and a little bacon in a BLT can be a real crowd pleaser. Don’t forget hard boiled eggs. They are easy to prepare and pack as you can hard boil a weeks worth on Sunday and keep them in the fridge for later in the week.
An apple, a banana or an orange can give your kids essential vitamins and minerals. Don’t forget a few vegetables either. We recommend steaming a bunch of vegetables on Sunday to save in a refrigerated container to distribute into weekly lunches. What fruits and veggies do the kids like? Use them as colorful additions to their lunchbox.
Calcium sources like broccoli and dairy are a must, for healthy teeth and bones! There are so many great cheeses as well. They’re good for the whole family and really healthy choices for cleaning and protecting teeth!
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.