Studies show that sending your child to school with a healthy lunch will keep him or her fuelled, attentive in class, and focused all day long. On the other hand, lunches and snacks filled with refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and void of other nutritional value will cause lethargy, fatigue, and even spur irritability.
As a parent, I understand that it can be difficult to pack healthy lunch items when your children are fussy eaters. However, when you consider that many pre-packaged foods and snacks are full of bad fat, added colors and preservatives, excess calories, refined starches and sugar, and high in sodium, the clever packaging of convinence foods and so-called “lunchbox favourites” gets a D- when it comes to nutrition.
Here are the ten worst lunch box offenders. Don’t worry, I also provide alternative replacements to fuel nutrition and success…
1. Grilled Cheese
A simple grilled cheese sandwich is a childhood favorite. Not only is it easy to make, but kids can’t resist the taste of ooey-gooey cheese. If you opt to make your sandwich with processed cheese slices, chances are you’re not even using real cheese. Sure, many cheese slices marketed to kids are fortified with calcium, but the “cheese” itself is often an oil-based, not a dairy-based, product, which contains little in the way of nutrition.
Also, researchers from the Consensus Action on Salt and Health found that most processed cheese slices contain more salt in just one slice than a lunch-portion bag of chips. However, you can make a healthy grilled cheese using whole grain bread, real cheddar or goat’s cheese, vegetables (i.e., tomato slices), and lean turkey or chicken.