Wondering What to Pack for School Lunches?
Here are 15 healthier brown-bag lunch options now available in your supermarket.
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Can you hear it? It's the sound of lunch bags and lunchboxes being snapped open. It's the sound of peanut butter lids being screwed off and pantry doors being opened as lunches are packed every morning in homes across America. It's back to the lunch-packing grind for parents, and many may be wondering what's new in healthy supermarket options.
It's an important question, as each lunch offers an opportunity to improve your child's diet. Lunchtime choices can make a big difference toward the daily and weekly totals for calories, fat, saturated fat, fiber, sugar, and sodium.
Apples and carrot chips aside, parents must find a balance between packing healthy lunches and packing lunches that their kids will actually eat. To assist them in this quest, food companies introduce new lunchbox products each year.
Have you looked in the dried fruit section lately? In resealable bags, you'll find plenty of unsweetened and lightly sweetened choices, from tropical pineapple and mango to the "berry-licious" flavors of blueberries, cherries and "berry blend."
And food companies like Chiquita and Ready Pack are working to make fruits and vegetables more convenient and fun. Chiquita has come out with Apple Bites (presliced apples in both individual and big bags), Grape Bites (individual bags), and Carrot Bites and Sugar Snap Peas (both packed with small containers of ranch dip). Ready Pac sells individual packages of baby carrots and ranch dip and celery stick with peanut butter. If you want to lose the dip, Grimmway Farms sells snack packs of just baby carrots and 16-ounce bags of fun-to-eat Carrot Chips. (These products do tend to be pricey, so try and get them when they are on sale.)
Here's a roundup of some of the healthy lunch offerings you'll find in the supermarket.
What to Pack for Lunch: Crunchy Foods
Snyder's Multi Grain Pretzel Sticks
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish -- Made with Whole Grain
Nature Valley Fruit Crisps (Cinnamon Apple)
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