Studies show that kids perform better in school when they eat a healthy lunch. Proper nourishment contributes to higher energy levels, better behavior, and improved focus. This year, serve up some yummy nutrition in your child’s school lunch by following the Nutrition Standards from the USDA National School Lunch Program.
Grammar School Guidelines for a Healthy Lunch
Build your weekly meal plan around these standards for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Fruits: 2 1/2 cups per week
Vegetables: 3 3/4 cups per week
Fluid milk: 5 cups per week
Grains: 8-9 oz (grades K–5), 8-10 oz (grades 6–8)
Meat/Meat Alternates: 8-9 oz (grades K–5), 8-10 oz (grades 6–8)
More to know
- One quarter cup of dried fruit counts as 1/2 cup of fruit.
- One cup of leafy greens counts as 1/2 cup vegetables.
- No more than half of the fruit or vegetable offerings may be in the form of juice. All juice must be 100% full-strength.
- All grains offered must be whole grain-rich.
- Milk should be low fat or fat free.
KIWI Lunch Picks: Eco, Healthy, and Delicious
Build a better lunch with these better-for-you foods and products that we love.
Dish it out
Patagonia Provisions To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set
With a case made of recycled plastic, this cutlery offers an eco-alternative to plastic utensils ($15, patagoniaprovisions.com).
These reusable snack bags, that come in a variety of fun colors and patterns, will help you cut back on plastic bag use ($10.99 for a 2-pack; greensproutsbaby.com).
Bee’s Wrap Sandwich Wrap
Made with organic cotton, sustainably-sourced beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, these wraps are washable, reusable, and compostable ($11.99 for a 2-pack, beeswrap.com).
ECOlunchbox Splash Box and Pods Set
Save space in your child’s lunchbox with these plastic- and toxin-free companion containers. ($54, ecolunchboxes.com)
Nalgene Lunch Box Buddy
This BPA-free lunchbox has a lid that doubles as a tray and an adjustable ice pack to keep perishable foods cold. ($40.98, amazon.com)
All the Fixings
Dave’s Killer Bread White Bread Done Right
Picky eaters will love this organic, non-GMO white bread, filled with 10 grams of whole grains. (Find in a store near you.)
SunButter Sunflower Butter
Free from the top 8 allergens, this butter is safe for schools and sharing. ($38.88 for a 6-pack, amazon.com)
Dietz & Watson Originals With organic options, these premium meats and cheeses are antibiotic and hormone free. (Find a store near you.)
Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna
Cooked in the can to preserve natural juices, this 100% pole and line caught tuna contains no added water, oil, broths, or fillers. ($15.18 for a 4-pack, amazon.com)
The New Primal Turkey Snack Mates
Packed with 8 grams of protein, these antibiotic- and gluten-free sticks are made from free-range turkey. ($42.14 for an 8-pack, amazon.com)
Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Yogurt
Get all the benefits of organic dairy without the digestive issues. (Find a store near you.)
S’ip by S’well Bottles
These colorfully patterned bottles, with leak-free lids, will keep your kid’s drinks cold all day long ($19.99 for a 15-oz bottle, amazon.com).
SIGG Kids Water Bottle
Designed and sized just for kids, this bottle is 100% recyclable and chemical free. ($15, amazon.com)
Hydro Flask Kids
Choose from Hydro Flask Kids’ 12- or 20-ounce water bottles—both of which come in bright, kid-friendly colors. Hydro Flask has a charitable program called Parks For All, which has supported more than 122 nonprofits and donated over $1.9 million to support green, outdoor spaces ($29.95–$44.95; hydroflask.com).
Ripple Kids Dairy-Free Milk
Made from nutritious pea milk, this shelf-stable drink offers 8 grams of plant-based protein. (Find a store near you.)