Healthy Homemade School Lunches

Although some school systems are making efforts to make school lunches healthier, most are still very far from offering nutritious options to our kids. Making homemade lunches everyday can be a challenge, but the reward is great: you are giving your child all the right fuel to get through those long school days.

Here are some healthy ideas to pack in your child’s lunchbox.

Photo from Green and Clean Mom

  1. Trail mix (not the candy-filled kind): Find ones that include nuts and dried fruits which contain fiber, Omega 3 & 6, calcium, magnesium. (Trader Joes has some great options).
  2. Organic fruit: It is best to leave the fruit whole for optimal freshness. Great fruits to include are apples, grapes, plums, peaches and nectarines.
  3. Sandwiches: Make your sandwiches on 100% whole grain bread for increased nutrient value. Good toppings are natural peanut butter & organic jelly or hummus with vegetables. **
  4. Hearty Soups: invest in a good thermos to keep the soup hot. Homemade vegetable, minestrone (beans contain a lot of protein and fiber) or chicken soup are great options. If you don’t have the time to make your own, there are some great low-sodium, organic canned or boxed soups available at the store. Add some whole grain crackers on the side for dunking and to get in some extra fiber.

**I would avoid most lunch meats, tuna and adding mayonnaise for safety unless your child’s lunch is stored in a refrigerator. A recent study published in Pediatrics showed that more than 90% of the items in lunches sent to preschools were kept at unsafe temperatures.**

While packing your child’s lunch, try to make it eco-friendly as well. So many stores are now selling reusable containers for your child’s lunchbox. They make bento-box style cases in BPA-free plastics and even some in stainless steel. Instead of juice boxes or plastic water bottles, pack your child’s drink in a reusable container like a Kleen Kanteen. They now even make reusable cloth sandwich bags so you aren’t constantly using plastic sandwich bags. In addition to being eco-friendly a lot of these options come in a variety of patterns and colors so your child will not only be helping the environment but will also be very stylish!

About Jenna Ferraiolo

Jenna is a CA state licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and a nationally certified Diplomat of Oriental Medicine (Dipl. O.M.). She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor's in Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation/Exercise Science from Ithaca College in New York. After graduation Jenna worked as a Medical Assistant in a Cardiology practice in Hartford, CT. Looking for a more integrative approach to health care, she then went on to obtain her Masters from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). During her time at PCOM, she worked with HIV/AIDS patients at UCSD’s Owen Clinic and also with NCAA athletes at the UCSD campus. In 2006 she had the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to study in several area hospitals with Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors. In 2008, Jenna had another amazing opportunity and was able to travel to Uganda to volunteer with the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project. While there, she trained both Traditional health care workers and hospital nurses on how to utilize Acupuncture to help treat the symptomology of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. She also traveled to refugee camps at the southern border of Uganda to treat refugees from several neighboring African countries. Immediately after graduation, Jenna worked with Neuro Acupuncture Associates in Carlsbad, CA inside of an internationally-renowned, non-profit Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation center for 2 years. In December 2010, she moved to Northern California and co-founded Earth and Air Wellness in Walnut Creek. Jenna is committed to educating her clients on the many benefits of using natural methods to obtain optimal health. In all aspects of her life, she tries to live by example by eating a nutritious, well-rounded organic diet and getting regular exercise including yoga. Since having her first child in 2010 and seeing the positive impact it has had on her daughter, she has gained an interest in treating pediatric patients with TCM.
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