Pack a Healthy Punch in your Kids’ Lunch
The beginning of the school year can bring a flurry of activity, among them, the daily task of packing school lunches for your little ones. Nurse Rose Melendez, a longtime Emergency Department nurse and mom of three, shares her tips to pack your kids a healthy lunch.
Why is it important for parents to help their children eat healthy?
Nurse Rose: Most importantly, parents often have a big impact on their child’s diet and their overall health throughout their lifetime. Packing a healthy lunch for your child is important for a number of reasons:
- Parents set the example. Kids often learn their eating behaviors from their parents.
- Kids need energy. Packing healthy food gives your child the energy and nutrients they need to succeed.
- A healthy weight reduces disease risk. Establishing healthy eating habits at a young age helps your child manage their body weight throughout their lives, which reduces their likelihood of heart disease and diabetes.
What should you include for a healthy lunch?
Nurse Rose: I know we’re all busy, but packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be so tough. Just pack these basics for a lunch filled with nutrients:
- At least one serving of fruit
- At least one serving of vegetables
- Lean protein like turkey
- Healthy grains like whole wheat bread
- Water or milk
What types of food should be avoided?
Nurse Rose: For a healthy lunch, you should avoid or limit:
- Sugary drinks like juice, sports drinks or soda
- Packaged/processed foods
- Foods high in sugar, sodium and fat
Always read the nutrition label and a great rule of thumb is to pack only a few items that even have a nutrition label. Natural foods like fruit and vegetables are always the best option!
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.