The Importance of a Healthy School Lunch
Eating lunch is an essential part of anyone’s day to maintain energy levels and productivity. While many would argue that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a healthy lunch, small or big, helps us keep our blood sugar level where it needs to be and boosts our concentration. It also helps to keep our metabolisms functioning properly.
Lunch is especially important for children at school. It’s the one meal they get at school and supplies them with the boost they need to be fully engaged and attentive throughout the day.
Improvements in school provided lunches have been implemented across the country through tools such as the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.” School boards and districts are paying close attention to the types of foods that are being served in school lunches and how these foods have an affect on childhood obesity. Whether the new and improved lunches will have their desired effect remains to be seen. But it’s a good sign to see this focus on kids’ lunches.
Many children still bring their lunch from home. Some parents prefer to pack lunch for their kids so they know exactly what they will be eating and how much. This is especially true for parents who have children with specific dietary restrictions or food allergies.
Whether you send a packed lunch with your child or have them eat the lunch provided at school, it’s important to emphasize the significant role lunch plays in your child’s health. Be sure to talk to them about eating lunch to stay healthy.
And if you need some ideas for a healthy lunch that kids will enjoy, here’s a couple of recipes we found:
Chicken Club Wraps
Whole-wheat tortillas provide a tasty twist in this quick grilled chicken breast recipe that combines all the elements of a classic club sandwich into a wrap. Serve with extra napkins.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
3 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
8 large leaves red- or green-leaf lettuce
4 10-inch flour tortillas, preferably whole-wheat
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Sprinkle chicken on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the chicken, turning once or twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, vinegar, onion, oil, salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl along with tomato, avocado and bacon; toss to combine.
To assemble the wraps, place 2 lettuce leaves on each tortilla and top with chicken salad (about 1 cup each). Roll up like a burrito. Serve cut in half, if desired.
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich
Sliced strawberries and reduced-fat cream cheese come together in a sandwich for this quick and healthy lunchbox treat.
1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 slices very thin whole-wheat sandwich bread
2 medium strawberries, sliced
Combine cream cheese, honey and orange zest in a bowl. Spread bread with the cheese mixture. Place sliced strawberries on 1 piece of bread, top with the other.