Cheat Sheet for a Well-Rounded Lunch

Melissa Graham

Do you pack your children a well-rounded lunch? You do if you can check off each of these categories:

Vegetables & Fruits
The more the better: Try to incorporate colorful veggies into your main dish (lettuce on a sandwich, peppers in a pasta salad), and add a piece of fruit for a sweet treat.

Grains
Whole grains are your best bet because they contain fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, and vitamin E. Look for bread and pasta that contain the word “whole” in the ingredients list, Wheat flour, which sounds good, is not necessarily whole wheat flour.

Protein
Shoot for two ounces per lunch. In addition to meat like turkey or chicken, you can get the amount your child needs from two tablespoons of peanut butter, one hard-boiled egg, or a half cup of yogurt.

Dairy
Milk ranks among the top sources of calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and zinc, making it important for kids’ growing bones and overall development. If your child doesn’t drink cow’s milk, look for soy milk fortified with vitamin D, and other sources of calcium, like broccoli and tofu.

What do you pack in a well-rounded lunch? Share your favorite ideas below!

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