Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an old favorite, get much healthier when you use 100% whole-wheat bread and no-sugar-added (or 100% pure fruit) preserves. You might even find that your child prefers the nutty, firm texture of whole-grain breads to spongy white breads, which often get smashed paper-thin in their lunch box. If your kids are banana lovers, use bananas instead of jelly. Slice the banana crosswise, and arrange your "banana pennies" right on top of the peanut butter.
For a quick-eating, filling, high-fiber recess snack, fill a zip lock bag with low-fat, microwave or air-popped popcorn. Or make a popcorn trail mix. Add unsalted nuts and dried fruit -- only the fruit varieties your kids like. Let them experiment beforehand. There are so many lip-smacking sweet/sour flavors to choose from, like apples, mango, sour cherries, and blueberries. They might even think they're eating candy!
In a zip lock bag, put raw carrots, raw cauliflower, orange wedges, and apple slices. The orange gives everything nice flavor and aroma and helps keep the apple slices from turning too brown.
No time to slice up veggies? Available in many markets now are little single-serving bags of sweet baby carrots -- peeled, washed, and ready to toss in your child's lunch box. How easy!
If your kids like dips for their veggies, pack a little container of bean dip, hummus, or salsa.
Those oh-so-popular fruit snacks certainly sound healthy, but they're really just candy, packed with fruit concentrate (which is basically sugar) and corn syrup (more sugar). Some even contain artery-clogging trans fat.
Go for the real thing, but make sure it'll go down fast. Your kids don't want to miss out on a kickball game because they had to peel a tangerine. Peel it in the morning and place in a protective plastic container to prevent bruising. Slit banana stems for easier peeling.
When you're out of fresh fruit, use fruit cups packed in 100% real fruit juice or water with easy-to-open lids. Another popular, nutritious favorite - mini boxes of raisins.
No time to pack a lunch? On the way to school, make a quick trip to the supermarket. Many have deli counters with choices like low-salt, fresh-roasted turkey breast. Stop off, too, at the produce section for another new convenience: single-serving plastic containers of pre-cut, ready-to-eat fruit like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew and vegetables like carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, peppers.
For More Information:
The Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa is a health resort in Aventura, Florida, where guests come from all over the world to achieve unparalleled health and weight-loss results. For more information about Pritikin, go to www.pritikin.com.
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