Last week I had the honor of being able to interview Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene to talk about packing healthy lunches for your kids.
Q: Any tips for packing a healthy school lunch kids will eat?
A: Let kids be part of the decision making before they get to school. A great example is with tomatoes, a fruit most kids don’t like. If you have them pick tomatoes, grow tomatoes or help slice them, they are bonding with the food and more likely to eat them. Both the kids and parents should come up with the menu together. The menu should always include a fruit, veggie, whole grain, protein and calcium (since most kids lack calcium in their diets). Coming up with the menu can include going shopping together or simply checking off a menu list at home.
I then commented that many people feel it takes a great amount of time to plan, shop and pack lunches and his response was ‘You’re going to be investing a lot of time in your kids in one way or another. Investing in helping your kids eat a healthy lunch is an important time.’ Agree!!
Q: How do you address kids throwing away uneaten food at school?
A: Have the discussion with them about wasting food. If you notice they are consistently not eating their carrots, for example, start shredding them into another food item that they will eat.
In addition, we discussed that you have to do your bet not to scold children if you are encouraging them to bring home uneaten food. Whatever my daughter brings home, becomes her after school snack or we incorporate into something else. One example is cheese: If she comes home with some cheese that I packed for lunch, it will be served with some crackers and fruit.
Q: As a father and pediatrician, what processed foods do you avoid?
A: Naturally, I avoid overly processed foods and use real foods. A lot of kids take peanut butter and jelly in their lunchbox. I like to substitute jelly for real blueberries, strawberries or bananas. In addition, due to the results of many studies on artificial colors, I also avoid them as an ingredient as much as possible for my kids.
Always choose food without growth hormones and antibiotics. On the positive side, I like to give kids a variety of foods, such as giving them fruits that are in season.
Dr. Greene consults with Horizon Organics and informed me that you can also learn other lunchbox tips from parents on Horizon’s Facebook page . Also, Dr. Greene’s Website is really a great source of information.