PORTLAND - It will be a common question in households with kids heading back to school - "What can I pack for lunch?"
Your answer can help determine how successful your child will be in the afternoon hours.
New government recommendations suggest kids in K through 5th grades get 550 to 650 calories at lunchtime. In high school intake should go up to between 750 and 850 calories.
Bread is likely to be your first decision as you prepare the school lunch.
Registered Dietitian Ruth Carey recommends anything that has whole grain as the first ingredient on the label.
“Kids tend to like whole wheat tortillas because they’re less grainy and there are new whole grain white breads out there.”
As for what to put on the bread, peanut butter and jelly is a good option as well as the hazelnut spread Nutella.
“Believe it or not, Nutella has some of the same nutrients as blueberries which are very good for you,” explained Carey.
She adds lunchtime snacks can include whole grain chips or crackers and popcorn is another smart choice.
To drink, chocolate or white milk is on her list and juices can be okay says Carey, “If they’re 100 per cent fruit juice drinks.”
The dietitian, who for eight years consulted with Portland Public Schools, on healthy lunch options realizes kids need a sweet treat once in awhile.
“I would go with an oatmeal cookie or a tiny dark chocolate bar but only after your child has eaten some fresh fruit like grapes or apple slices.”