Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Healthy (and practical!) lunchbox ideas

Be a healthy hero—not a nutritional zero—by opting to pack lunch for yourself and your children. Choosing to forego putting your kids in the cafeteria line or hitting the drive-through in favor of brown bagging it can help reduce your overall intake of sodium, saturated fat, refined grains and sugar. You’ll save money in the long run, too.

Most school lunches are processed foods prepared in ovens or fryers that lack whole grains and contribute a disproportionate amount of calories and sugar to children’s diets. “Eating out at lunch for the parents can mean a whopping dose of sodium. Most restaurant foods average about 1,000 mg. per dish. That puts mom and dad at risk for hypertension, heart disease and stroke,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., YouBeauty Nutrition Advisor.

Every packed lunch, whether for mom, dad or junior, Kirkpatrick says, should include these five health-conscious staples:

1.100-percent whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, pasta or brown rice
2.One fruit
3.One vegetable
4.Protein, such as yogurt, string cheese or chicken breast

When preparing children’s lunches, Kirkpatrick advises parents to pay attention to portion control and to include a vegetable or a fruit, preferably both. Join the Healthy Lunch Idea Flickr Group.

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