Your Child’s Lunchbox

What to Pack, What to Purge


Every time you pack your child’s lunch, it’s “a nutritional opportunity” to help maximize your child’s energy at school and boost his or her health, notes Harrison-based nutritionist Elyssa Hurlbut, MS, RD, CDN. “Include a good source of protein, a healthy grain, and something that came from the garden, such as veggies or fruit.” Stay away from empty calories.

Not sure exactly what to pack and what to purge? Check out the chart to the right, with advice from Hurlbut. 

Pack This  Not That
Quinoa. It adds protein, fiber, magnesium, and other necessary nutrients. Pasta. White pasta raises blood-sugar levels quickly, leaving kids with a mid-afternoon energy slump. 
Minestrone. This healthy choice is full of veggies, including beans (protein!) to ramp up the nutrition. Chicken Noodle. It may be everyone’s favorite, but it doesn’t really offer much nutrition.
Breadless sandwiches. Put tuna, egg salad, or hummus in a carved-out red pepper, or roll up lean deli meats with spinach leaves, and a touch of mustard. White-bread sandwiches. This “been there, done that” choice adds lots of calories and little nutritional value.
Roasted edamame or chickpeas. Both are high in protein and fiber, with lots of crunch and flavor. Chips. They add extra calories relative to the amount of nutrients they provide.




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