The school year is back in full swing, and while many school cafeterias are striving to serve more nutritious fare, sending your kids off to school with a homemade lunch helps ensure that they’re getting the nutrients they need to keep them energized and enhance their performance throughout the school day. This is especially important nowadays, given that the number of severely overweight children in the United States has tripled since 1980. You can help reverse this trend and improve your children's health by making some simple swaps to their lunch boxes.
Bonus: These healthy swaps can help you with your own weight-loss goals as well. Start swapping!
Swap…high-fat lunch meats like bologna and salami
For…lean all-natural reduced-sodium deli meats like roast turkey or chicken breast, lean ham, and lean roast beef
Swap…white bread and white pasta
For…100% whole-grain bread and whole-wheat pasta
Swap…fried chips and other high-fat, low-nutrient snacks
For…reduced-fat cheese sticks, a handful of nuts, veggie dippers (like carrots or celery) with hummus, plain air-popped popcorn, or a South Beach Diet snack bar or Protein Fit bar
Swap…fruit canned in sugary syrup
For…fresh fruit or fruit packed in its natural juice
Swap…cookies and cakes
For…fresh fruit or sugar-free gelatin
Swap…sugary fruit drinks and sodas
For…low-fat or fat-free milk, low-sodium tomato juice or vegetable juice blend, or water