What Are You Really Putting In Your Child’s Lunch Box?

13 January 2013, 00:01 | Posted under by Tatiana

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Moms want to know that their kids are getting the nutrition they need, and packing a lunch box is still a common practice after all these years. Although children may have access to cafeteria food, some picky eaters just aren’t going to eat. While you may feel that anything is better than nothing, getting kids into the habit of eating healthy should start while they are young. Unfortunately, many of the foods commonly used to pack children’s lunch boxes are anything but nutritious.
Here are some of the least desirable choices and some alternatives.
The Bad Choice: Cookies, cakes, and candy bars. Of course kids are going to eat sweet treats even if they don’t eat anything else! With childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes on the rise, these are definitely bad ideas.
The Better Choice: If your kids will eat fruit, then it makes a great substitute for sweets but it won’t help if they leave it in the lunch box. Muffins make a great compromise. They have less sugar than cakes and also have nutritious ingredients like fruit and whole grains.
The Bad Choice: Processed meats like those found in the ready made lunch box packages. These foods contain nitrites which have been linked to cancer. They can also contain a lot of fat. Instead of worrying about getting protein in your kid’s diet, focus on foods that provide them with calcium and iron. These are nutrients that many kids don’t get enough of and they don’t need as much protein as many parents think. You can provide them with tastier, healthier choices for protein during the last meal of the day and they will also get protein from other foods including milk, cheese, peanut butter, lentils, whole grain breads and pasta, and nuts.
The Better Choice: Low fat string cheese with whole grain crackers. Your child will still be getting some of the protein you want along with less fat and fiber from whole grains. If your child will eat plain yogurt mixed with fresh strawberries and topped with granola, then this is an excellent choice. However, many yogurts with fruit or flavors contain high fructose corn syrup and are too sugary to balance their nutritional value.
The Bad Choice: Fruit snacks, even though they are promoted as containing a large volume of real fruit juice, just aren’t the healthy snacks you may think they are. They can be high in sugar, contain fructose corn syrup, be extremely high in sodium and offer little nutritional value.
The Better Choice: Real fruit is always the best choice and provides more nutrition than fruit juice, too. A ziplock back with a few fresh strawberries or apple slices will provide your child with a naturally sweet snack and flavor that will help ensure it will be eaten. Dried fruits also contain high amounts of sugar. For a nutritious old favorite, get some snack sized boxes of raisins.
The Bad Choice: Kids’ drink boxes. You might expect flavored drinks to be of no nutritional value but even fruit juice boxes have little to offer in comparison to the additives they contain.
The Better Choice: Purchase a thermos and fill with organic fruit juice that doesn’t have any of the additives and provides the full benefit offered by the real fruit.
Making the right choices for your child’s lunch box also means including foods that they will eat even when you aren’t watching! Remember, it doesn’t matter how nutritious your choices are if they don’t eat them.
Source: http://www.articleonlinedirectory.com/258845/what-are-you-really-putting-in-your-childs-lunch-box.html