Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tips For Creating Healthy Back-To-School Lunches And Snacks



Getting your kids back into the habit of going to school can be hectic and stressful. Making sure that they are properly dressed, have all of the necessary supplies, and have completed their homework can seem like a nightmare. In the midst of this, us parents can easily forget the most important thing...proper nutrition.

Eating a chemical-free and balanced diet is crucial, not just to stay healthy, but it aids proper sleep, and helps them stay focused! 

What I packed for my kids for a recent trip to the zoo! I tend to focus on non-Gmo and organic as much as possible!
Here are my top 3 tips on how to keep your child healthy and focused throughout the school year!

1. Reusable or BPA-free Sandwich & Snack Bags

According to the Sierra Club, the average family spends $85 per year on disposable bags. Not only are plastic a waste of money (because literally, you are throwing money in the trash), but are made from #4 plastic and contain LDPE, low density polyethylene and BPA. Now, this chemical isn't released until the plastic has deteriorated and achieves a "cloudy" appearance from multiple use. Is a new bag safe? Well that I cannot say for sure, but I won't risk it.

I prefer ReUsies lunch and snack bags since they are CPSIA compliant and are free of BPA and phthalates. Each $15 set comes with a sandwich and snack bag. They are easy to wash and dry pretty quickly. If reusable bags are not your personal taste, you can purchase eco-friendly bags. I love the WEXY snack bags, which come in a box of 28 for $3.99. They are USA-made, biodegradable, BPA Free, and recyclable. WEXY bags can also be reused...so they are an incredibly cheap option! If your children remember to not toss them in the garbage or recycling bin.



2. Limit...If Not, Restrict Juice

Even those juices that are marketed as "healthy" or loaded with a serving of veggies are still pretty high in sugar content - even if they are no-sugar added.  Want to hear something pretty alarming? Consumer Reports had released a study and concluded that "roughly 10 percent of the apple and grape juice samples that were tested by [their] magazine contained total levels of arsenic that exceeded federal standards set for drinking water — and the majority of that arsenic, contrary to what the FDA said previously, was the harmful inorganic kind". 

88 samples had been taken and the brands Apple & Eve, Great Value, Mott’s, Walgreens, and Welch’s  ranked the worst with levels of 27 parts per billion. That is almost 3x the federal standard amount that is deemed "safe", which is 10 parts per billion. In addition, these juices also included traces of lead.

If you give any juice to your children at all, opt for the organic. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than 6 ounces of fruit juice per day for children between the ages of 6 months to 6 years old, and no more than 12 ounces for older children. Excessive juice intake is not only a factor that can cause obesity can also cause diarrhea which can lead to malnourishment.

Instead opt for water (we filter our water with a Berkey active alumina system to remove contaminants, chlorine, and fluoride), organic milk, or milk substitutes such as almond.

Berkey Water Filter


3. Eat Clean Fruit, Fats, Protein, and Veggies

Did you know? (Data taken from Maximized Living.com)
  • 3,000+ chemicals are added to our food supply.
  • 10,000+ chemicals are used in food processing, preserving and storage.
  • 3 million tons of pesticides are used, with 1,600 chemicals used in their production.
Scary huh? That is why it is so incredibly important to feed our children with organic and non-Gmo food when possible. Steer clear of items that are packaged (even the non-Gmo and organic ones can put enclosed in toxic packaging), loaded with preservatives, artificial dyes, flavors, or contain questionable ingredients. My rule is : If you cannot pronounce it or give a confident definition of what it is, avoid it. Also, make sure that you are familiar with the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" when choosing produce, refer to the Environmental Work Group's list HERE.

It is also important that your children are consuming plenty of healthy fats, protein, veggies, and fruit. My children are "grazers" they like a little bit of everything, so a meal with a wide selection is ideal.

Here is my kids favorite lunch menu (of  course choosing organic, free of hormones, and free of antibiotics):

- Raw almonds (raw almonds are rich in flavonoids and help offset free-radical damage, help to stabilize blood sugar, high in vitamin E, and high in monounsaturated fats which help lower cholesterol)

- Broccoli or carrot sticks

- Berries (low glycemic and high in antioxidants)

- Cubed & lightly seasoned chicken served with a cucumber & dill Greek yogurt dipping sauce


For more tips and useful information, be sure to check out The Healthy Child's new free eBook Easy Steps to Healthy Schools & Daycares! This eBook is a comprehensive but easy-to-read resource created to help parents identify environmental toxins in schools and daycare centers. Be sure to check it out!

Also check out the Maximized Living website for more health support. You might just save your life!


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Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post, nor did I receive compensation of any kind for it.

References :

Everyday Health - http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/the-real-reason-kids-shouldnt-drink-apple-juice.aspx

Greenhouse Neutral Foundation - http://greenhouseneutralfoundation.org/articles/2010/06/05/bpa-in-plastic-wrap-sandwich-bags-too/

Natural Resources Defense Council - http://www.nrdc.org/living/shoppingwise/plastics-faqs.asp


9 comments:

  1. It's crazy all the junk they put in our food. I have to pack lunch for the kiddo this year so this post was helpful! Thanks!

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  2. The chicken cucumber idea sounds like something *I* want for lunch!!!!

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  3. Ugh, this is what I struggle with my son everyday for school - what to put in his lunchbox. Some great tips - I agree with you, juice is okay, but not 5 boxes of them - having it occasionally is totally fine on the sugar levels.

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  4. My daughter gets fruit and veggies EVERY DAY, we also use reusable products. LOVE them!

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  5. I'm lucky that my kids like fruits and veggies. They only get 1 serving of juice a day, but enjoy other things, besides!

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  6. I love the reusable bags that you posted. So cute. But on a more serious note, I can't believe how much gunk goes into food that really shouldn't be there. You would think with all these government agencies regulating everything that we might get something right, back to growing it on our own!

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  7. Great ideas on keeping lunches healthy. I really try to focus on making our meals with whole real foods instead of processed and it tastes so much better and is so much healthier.

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  8. Love the reusable snack bags. I just got my first few yesterday and I love them! I agree completely about limiting juice!!

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  9. Love reusable snack bags... snack taxi is our favorite. We try and do water always at our house. Juice is a treat we buy now and then or at grandma and grandpas house :) It is very important that kids eat healthy to give them the energy to concentrate thru a school day

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