Insider’s Viewpoint: More Matters in the Lunch Box
As you know, September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matters® Month. It also happens to be the month that children around the nation go back to school after a long summer vacation. Beginning a new school year is a great time to get back to healthy habits!
There are many different fruits and vegetables in season throughout the school year so adding seasonal fruits and vegetables is a delicious and affordable way to add variety to your student’s lunch. You can also toss in frozen, canned or dried produce items, along with 100% juice. In addition to being tasty, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber (which helps keep kids full until the end of the school day), rich in vitamins and minerals, and low in fat.
7 Easy Ways to Add Fruits & Veggies to Your Child’s Lunch Box
- Fruit Salad. Kids are more likely to eat fruit if it is cut up and easy to eat. Chop up and peel if necessary a variety of fresh fruits and put in a sealed container.
- Whole Fruit. Including whole fruit in the lunch box is a great idea, just make sure that it is a suitable size for your child to hold and that they can peel it on their own.
- Cukes! Add thinly sliced cucumber to a sandwich – just use a vegetable peeler to make thin ribbons and add with the lettuce!
- Sub the Mayo! Avocado can be used as a sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise or butter.
- Freeze-Dried Treats. Send freeze-dried fruits and vegetables as a tasty, interesting option instead of potato chips.
- Crudités. Crudités can be made more enticing with a hummus or ranch dip on the side.
- Sub the Jam! Use cut-up fruit instead of jam or jelly on a peanut butter sandwich – still tasty, but lower in sugar.
Veggie Sandwich for Little Mouths
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- Hummus of choice
- Thinly sliced lunch meat of choice
- Use a rolling pin to flatten out the bread. This will ensure that the sandwich doesn’t get too thick for a little mouth to eat. Also, cut off the crust if necessary for your child.
- Spoon a thin layer of hummus on each piece of bread and spread evenly.
- Grate the carrots and celery. Use just enough to make a thin layer on the sandwich.
- Use a vegetable peeler to cut thin slices of cucumber.
- Sprinkle the grated carrots and celery on the sandwich and layer with the thin slices of cucumber. Add a few slices of lunch meat. Be careful not to make the sandwich too thick. It could get soggy from the extra vegetables (they have a high water content) or end up too thick for a child to fit in their mouth.
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Stephanie Schultz, MSM, RDN, CD
Health & Wellness Director