Hot dogs, pizza, tater tots, chicken nuggets, ketchup and bagged chips – these high-fat, high-sodium and low-fiber
foods are made available every day in some schools across the country. With over one-third of American children overweight or obese, it’s little wonder First Lady Michelle Obama has made improving standards for school lunches a focus. And improvements are
happening, but packed lunches are still a great way to help your children keep calories and fat under control, as well provide the essential nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Kimberly Hammon, Dietitian at NorthShore, shares some healthy lunch tips for how to include essential nutrients – vitamin D, calcium, fiber and potassium – into your kid’s packed lunch:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various cancers, including colon and breast, heart disease and depression. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium to maximize bone growth and strength.
What to pack?
Calcium: Calcium is an essential nutrient that helps build strong bones, but it also can help with heart rhythm, blood clotting and muscle function.
Fiber: Fiber can help prevent type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. It also helps tummies feel fuller longer.
Potassium: Potassium-rich diets promote heart and muscle function, maintain fluid balance, energize and help build strong bones.
What do you pack to provide a healthy lunch for your kids?
There seems to be a diet out these days to appeal to everyone trying to trim down. And, with the barrage of different diets in the
media, it's hard to know which diets work and which fall short.
What's important in a safe and healthy approach to weight loss? Before starting a diet be sure that your plan includes the following:
It’s balanced. By excluding food groups, your body is at risk of being deprived of the nutrients it needs to function. For example, the popular
Atkins Diet drastically reduces carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the cells of the body and also are a main source of your daily fiber needs.
It focuses on portion control. Have you ever seen the MyPlate
icon? MyPlate focuses on portion control and balanced meals by dividing a standard dinner plate into four food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, with a side of dairy. Portion control is important to avoid overeating and can help reduce
It teaches lifelong, healthy eating habits. Longevity is impossible with impractical fad diets like The Hollywood Cookie Diet
and The Grapefruit Diet, which severely restrict calories and lack the nutrition (not to mention the variety) that your taste buds crave. By eating balanced meals and controlling portions, weight loss is achievable and can be maintained
throughout your entire life without having to crash diet.
For a healthy, balanced diet with controlled portions always remember to:
Which diet approaches have worked for you?
This article was submitted by Lindsay Sankovsky, Dietetic Intern, and reviewed by Kimberly Hammon, MS, RD, LDN.