Weatherford Democrat

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August 25, 2013

EXTENSION NEWS: Sack lunches can be fun and nutritional

By KATHY SMITH

If you send your child to school with a lunch, you want to make it nutritious, but you also want to make it fun.

Here are some idea for making lunches that your kids will eat.   

First, make sure it is nutritious. Sack lunches can be a good source of nutrition if you focus on the primary vitamins (A, B, C and D). By doing so you’ll probably be providing your child with enough protein, fiber, carbohydrates, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, calcium, iron and zinc. You will also cut down on fats and sugars.

Here are a some foods high in specific vitamins:

• Vitamin A – dark green and deep yellow vegetables: carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and whole milk.

• Vitamins B – whole grains and seeds: whole wheat breads/crackers/cereal, oatmeal, nuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, green beans and peas.

• Vitamin C – vegetables and fruits (especially citrus): oranges or orange juice, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, cabbage salad, sliced sweet red or green peppers and sweet potato.

• Vitamin D – sunlight and fortified dairy: yogurt, milk and cheese.

• Use both mild and strong flavors. Nachos, coleslaw, cheddar cheese, and brownies are all strongly flavored foods.

• Think variety and contrast. Color and variety can be appealing to your child’s lunch. Why pack an egg salad sandwich on white bread, a golden apple, potato chips and apple juice when you could pack an egg salad sandwich on whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, a tart green apple, baked sweet potato chips and grape juice?

• Vary shapes and sizes. A meal consisting of cheese nips, grapes, almonds and cherry tomatoes would be tedious to eat.

• Mix things up. Try variety. Pack chicken soup on Monday, bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich on Tuesday, deviled eggs and veggie-kebabs on Wednesday, burrito on Thursday, and ravioli on Friday.

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