9 tips for healthy school lunch preparation

Walford recommends using "MyPlate" as a guide for healthful meals.
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Kylie Walford, a dietitian with Waccamaw Community Hospital, joined News13 NOW at 9 a.m. on Wednesday to talk about preparing healthful school lunches during the school year.

Walford advises using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “My Plate” as a guide. It can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov.

Watch the video for the complete interview. Here are some of the tips covered:

  • Half the plate (meal) consists of fruits and vegetables.
  • Doing something as simple as changing the shape of fruits and vegetables can make them more appealing to eat. A good trick is to keep fruits and veggies bite size and pair them with a healthy dip such as hummus or yogurt.
  • Grains and Protein:  Look for products that contain 100% whole wheat such as this pita. For protein, leftover meats such as chicken breast from dinner will often contain less sodium than deli meats.
  • Dairy:  Yogurt pouches provide a unique way for children to get a serving of dairy and require no preparation for busy parents. Other options include string cheese and milk. (Regarding drinks, it is best to try and veer away from sugary beverages such fruit juices, sport drinks or sodas.)
  • Desserts are okay as long as healthy food does not get lost. With any higher calorie foods portions are important. You can use little silicone muffin cups to measure out some chocolate covered pretzels or other dessert-type snacks.
  • Overall keep in mind that children are more likely to consume a lunch that they have helped plan or prepare.
  • Guide children in planning lists of foods from each of the food groups and get them involved in choosing healthy foods at the grocery store.
  • Do as much of the prep work as possible the night before such as chopping, peeling or slicing.  Another option is purchasing foods that are healthy but less preparation. An example being fruit cups packed in juices.
  • It is important to know that sometimes children need to try a food 10-15 times before they will learn to like a new food.  So don’t give up!   Most importantly model healthy eating.  If your child sees you trying new foods, particularly healthy foods, they will be more likely to try it themselves.

 

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