This community news is sponsored by IMA, Integrated Medicine Alliance

It's that busy time for many families getting ready for back to school.  Packing healthy lunches that  children will actually eat can be challenging. 

Here are a few tips and easy examples: 

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  • Balanced meals should include fiber and protein sources for sustained (slow-burning) energy to last throughout the day.
  • Snacks should be planned the same way, including produce or a whole grain to add filling fiber and nut/seed butters (as school allows), cheese or yogurt, nitrate-free lunchmeat/poultry, or hummus for packable protein sources.
  • To limit added sugar intake, milk or water is recommended for children. When trying a new food, be sure to pair it with a familiar, favorite food that your child already enjoys.

Some examples of balanced snacks include:

  • String cheese or a Babybell cheese (for smaller appetites) and bagged apple slices
  • Snap pea crisps such as Harvest Snaps
  • Sliced thin cucumbers or baby carrots dipped in hummus
  • Plain yogurt mixed with natural applesauce to sweeten
  • Graham cracker “sandwiches” made with peanut butter or sunflower seed butter (nut-free)
  • Tortilla chips & single-serving guacamole cups such as Wholly Guacamole

Main lunch ideas:

  • Turkey and cheese rollups with mustard and whole grain crackers (for younger children) or a sandwich on whole grain bread (for older children)
  • Banana and peanut butter “sushi” rolled in a whole wheat wrap
  • Pasta and defrosted frozen peas tossed with butter
  • Whole grain chicken nuggets and baked sweet potato fries/roasted sweet potato chunks

“Bento box” style lunch is fun for children and they can help pack too: Cucumbers or sliced bell peppers (or your child’s preferred vegetable), hummus for dipping, whole grain crackers and mozzarella cheese balls