Healthy Lunchbox Staples

      It's that time of year! The relaxing and warm days of summer transition into the cool, crisp and busy days of fall! Be prepared this year to keep up with the hussle! Healthy Grocery Girl Megan Roosevelt, a registered & licensed dietitian, joined us to share some fun ways to fuel your family, whether you pack them in school lunches or for afterschool snacks.

      1. Nut Butter On The Go! Single serve peanut butter packets are great to toss in a lunch bag or eat as an afternoon snack. They provide perfect portion sizes and can be used to make a sandwich, or to spread on fresh cut fruit and veggies such as apples, carrots and celery. They are also great to eat after school and before after school activities such as soccer or dance practice.

      2. Hummus, Crackers and Veggies Hummus is a satisfying and filling dip, perfect to pair with carrots or whole-wheat crackers. Single serve hummus packets are a great portion controlled and portable way to enjoy this healthy dip

      3. Whole-Wheat Bread for Lasting Energy Choose fiber rich bread such as 100% Whole Wheat, to ensure your lunch has energy that lasts.

      4. Quench your Thirst Naturally WATER is your BEST choice. However if you are craving something a little extra, mini Almond Milks such as Low-Sugar Vanilla Almond Milk and Chocolate Almond Milk are a healthy and delicious beverage choice.

      5. Fruit Cups Without Added or Artificial Sugars Applesauce and fruit cups are ok as long as they do not have added sugar such as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sugar such as sucralose or aspartame.

      6. Make Lunch Easy To Eat Make sure to pre-cut fruits and vegetables instead of packing a whole piece of fruit. Lunchtime is busy, and you want your time spent eating, not peeling.

      7. Keep it Balanced "Balanced" is the key word when packing lunches or making breakfast or an afternoon snack. Make sure that you have a variety from all food groups such as a good source of protein, whole-grains as well as a fruit and or vegetable (preferably both!).

      General Healthy Lunch Guidelines Avoid these health inhibiting ingredients commonly found in packaged convenience foods:

      • Trans Fats "Hydrogenated Oils"

      • HFCS "High Fructose Corn Syrup"

      • "Soy Protein Isolate / Concentrate"

      • Artificial Food Colors or Dyes

      • Artificial Flavors

      • MSG "Monosodium Glutamate"

      • Artificial Sweeteners such as "Aspartame", "Sucralose", or "Saccharin"

      • Preservatives such as Nitrates / Nitrites, Sulfites and BHT

      For more ideas on how to pack healthy lunches or information on health and nutrition, visit Megan's website.