A Good Guide to Packing Healthy Lunches

Lunch is served! We recently teamed up with TLC’s Parentables to host a Twitter party about how to pack the healthiest meals for kids. With important advice from our GoodGuide Mom community and our resident dietitian Sheila Viswanathan, attendees learned how to make quick and easy lunches that kids will actually eat. We’ve compiled some of the highlights below:

How do you keep the classic sandwich healthy?

  • Most peanut butters score low on GoodGuide because of added sugar.
  • Cold cuts also have low health ratings because of high sodium.
  • For healthier spread options try other nut butters, hummus or pesto.
  • Choose whole grain bread over multigrain, which just means “multiple grains”. It’s what is done with and added to the grains (and how it’s packaged) that counts.

What should you pack to help wash lunch down?

  • Water is the best option to keep kids hydrated. Try freezing the water bottle so it doubles as a freezer pack!
  • Add in slices of citrus fruit to give natural flavor to water.
  • If buying drinks at school, kids should choose plain milk or 100% juice.

What are some strategies to help get out of the lunch rut?

  • Think outside of the “sandwich” and try out bento boxes for a well-rounded meal.
  • Get kids involved with making lunch, if they choose it they will eat it!
  • Make lunch fun, try cutting sandwiches in different shapes.
  • Change it up with different spreads (avocado, mashed beans, hummus).

How do you keep lunch eco-friendly?

  • Use a reusable lunch bag that is free of BPA, phthalates and lead like the lunch kit from Reuseit.
  • Instead of packing disposable juice boxes or water bottles, use a refillable BPA-free water bottle.
  • Use 100% recycled napkins like these from top-rated GG brand Seventh Generation.
  • Pack stainless steel utensils.
  • Opt for plants over animal-based foods a few times a week- good for the environment and health!

How can your child make better choices in the cafeteria?

  • If your child is buying at school, tell them to head to the salad bar.
  • Have lunch with your child one day to see what their options are.

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