Add Balance to Packed Lunches and Snacks
(Family Features) When you supply your kids with nutritious and sensible choices, you’re ensuring a productive day in the classroom and beyond. It’s simple to make lunch and snack time fun by tossing in some new, wholesome options that add variety and appeal for your little learner.
Add new foods to the mix
The most important nutrients parents seek when selecting the foods they feed their kids are protein, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D and iron. While stocking up on foods rich in these nourishing elements is certainly helpful, there’s no way to ensure your child will eat them. But recent studies have found that kids are actually more likely than their parents to be the first of their friends to try new food or nutrition products.
Take the opportunity to start nutritious eating habits at a young age with flavorful food combinations that create balance at snack and meal time. For example, pair a kid- and parent-pleasing choice, such as Mini Babybel ® cheese, a 100 percent natural cheese with a rich and creamy taste, with their favorite fruit or vegetable. In fact, a recent study shows that replacing non-nutrient rich snack foods like chips with a combination of cheese and vegetables can help reduce calories by 72 percent and keep kids feeling fuller longer.
To help parents make better choices while grocery shopping, Catherine McCord, author of Weelicious Lunches and Weelicious.com, and Mini Babybel Brand Advocate, offers these tasty ideas to make lunches and snacks more wholesome for the whole family:
With a balanced approach to eating, you’ll be able to send the whole family off to school or work prepared for whatever their busy day brings. You may also introduce them to some new favorite foods.
Easy ways to pack
- Protein Picks: To keep them feeling satisfied and fuller longer, include a few protein-packed choices in their lunch bag. Some options include roasted chicken, steamed edamame, hard boiled eggs, nuts or a Mini Babybel cheese. With seven delicious flavors that offer 5-6 grams of protein and 15-20 percent of daily calcium needs, this cheese snack is sure to satisfy.
- Sweet Additions: Make their midday meal and snack time more complete with the addition of one or two servings of fruit. Some delicious options include apples, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, kiwis or pears.
- Fresh Finds: Many vegetables offer fiber and other nutrients not found in other snacks. Throw in a bag of chopped vegetables, such as baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery, red bell peppers or sugar snap peas.
(mother and daughters in kitchen)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
 Survey data from Porter Novelli’s nationally-representative HealthStyles (a survey of US adults 18 years or older) and YouthStyles (a survey of youth ages 12-17).
 Wansink, B., Shimizu, M., Brumberg, A. Association of nutrient-dense snack combinations with calories and vegetable intake. J Pediatrics. 2013 Jan; 131(1):22-28.