Packing nutrition into lunches and after-school snacks

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Sarah Stock, a dietitian at St. Luke’s, says there are some simple ways to pack nutrition into school lunches and after-school snacks.

She suggests keeping the following in mind:

  1. Kids eat with their eyes: “Adults have this term ‘junk food,’ right? And so we have an idea that food that’s high in calories, high in sugar, that’s junk,” Stock said. “Kids – some, anyway – think that’s awesome food. And what would they call junk food? Things that are brown or green.” However, she says if you put bright foods like fruit, vegetables, and nuts on the table, they are eventually going to choose the healthy things.
  2. Focus on the joy of eating, and nutrition will follow: “The joy of eating is eating food that’s tasty for you, eating as much or as little as you want, listening to your body, and just being able to make choices according to what our body is saying instead of what the clock says or what someone else says,” Stock said. She said there are as many ways to eat as there are humans on the planet.
  3. Consider ways to add protein and fiber: “Often when we’re packing lunches or eating snacks, they can be very carb-heavy,” Stock said. “But they don’t tend to have a lot of fiber, and they don’t tend to have a lot of protein in them. And those two things really do help us feel more satisfied with what we’re eating.” She encourages people to “pick two.” If you’re going to have a granola bar, have it but pick one other thing like nuts or dried fruits that would add more fiber.