By: staff
Tips for Packing a Fun And Healthy Lunch for Your Child

While the kids are still enjoying summer, many parents have started to think about the coming school year. They’re doing back-to-school shopping for clothes and supplies, they’re arranging schedules for after school activities, and they’re beginning to think about the daily ritual of packing their kids a healthy lunch.

“The goal is to send the kids off to school with a lunch they may actually eat, rather than swap for something less healthy, or worse yet, toss,” said Patricia Salzer, a registered dietitian and health and wellness consultant for Univera Healthcare.

Salzer offers three simple tips for parents: Focus on health, taste and safety.

What’s Healthy
•Fresh Fruit: “It’s nature’s fast food,”
Salzer said. Dried fruit such as raisins is
OK too.

•Vegetables: Baby carrots and cucumbers

•Protein: Peanut butter, hard boiled eggs
and lean deli meats

•Grains: Whole wheat bread or crackers,
tortillas and pita bread

•Dairy: Fat free milk, low fat cheese sticks
and low sugar yogurt

“Parents can use a knife or cookie cutter to turn sandwiches and vegetables like cucumbers into fun shapes, making these nutritious foods more desirable to their children,” Salzer said.

What’s Tasty
•Add healthy foods into items that kids already love. Use apples or bananas when making muffins. Pack slices of pizza topped with vegetables into your child’s lunch. Slip diced apples into that chicken salad sandwich.

•Create healthy trail mix. Mix dry, whole wheat cereal with raisins, nuts (if there are no allergy or choking problems), pretzels or even a few chocolate chips.

Be Safe
•Place an ice pack in your child’s lunch bag, or keep the lunch in the cooler to keep the food at a safe temperature. Don’t forget to remind your kids to wash their hands before eating!

“Parents also should ask their child what healthy foods they would like in their lunch,” Salzer added. “The more involved kids are in the lunch planning and grocery shopping, the more likely they are to eat the foods they helped select.”

Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves the eight counties of Western New York. It is part of a family of companies financing and delivering health services for more than 1.8 million upstate New Yorkers.

Learn more about Univera Healthcare:
On the Web at

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