Start Planning Healthy School Lunches Now

Expert offers advice on preparing healthy school lunches

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FRIDAY, Aug. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- It will soon be time to start thinking about your children's school lunches, which need to be healthy to help fight obesity and build brain power

So says Lona Sandon, registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

A sandwich made with whole-grain, whole-wheat bread with lean meat and low-fat cheese or peanut butter provides protein and other nutritional benefits for your child. Give your children yogurt smoothies instead of soft drinks and wheat crackers instead of potato chips.

Other suggestions include small containers of cottage cheese, fruit cups or fresh fruit, puddings made with skim milk, single-serving packages of pre-cut carrots or celery with dip, and yogurt in a tube.

"A healthy lunch will not only keep the body going but also the brain. Kids who eat regular healthy meals often do better in school," Sandon said.

"If your kids insist on chips and candy, go with the baked chips rather than the regular and fun-size candy bars instead of king-size," she added.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about healthy food choices for children.

SOURCE: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, news release, Aug. 6, 2004

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