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By ASHTON COOPER, MS,RD,LDN Nutritionist,Wayne County Health Department Packing a healthy lunch for your child is an opportunity to give them some healthy, brain- fueling foods. Eating a healthy lunch will help to fill your child up and provide them with energy for the remainder of the day. A healthy lunch should be bal- anced with a variety of food groups. Ideally, a lunch should contain a food from each of the following food groups: protein, grains, fruit, vegetable and dairy. From the grains group, we should choose whole grains often because they provide a lot of daily fiber. For example, a whole grain tor- tilla or whole grain bread typical- ly contains more fiber than refined white bread/tortilla. For the protein group, we should choose lean protein options. Try to avoid higher fat proteins like hot dogs and bologna and choose deli chicken or turkey instead! Any fruit or vegetables that your child likes are good options to pack for lunch! For canned/jarred fruit, be sure to buy fruit that says "canned in its own juice" and is not canned in syrup. If your child prefers a dressing or dip with vegetables, keep the portion small (one to two table- spoons.) For a sweet treat, choose lower sugar options like animal crack- ers, graham crackers or a yogurt and avoid higher calorie treats cakes, cookies and candy. Keep food safety in mind. For foods that need to stay cold like turkey, ham, yogurt and cheese, be sure to pack in an insulated lunchbox with ice packs. A frozen bottle of water makes a cheap ice pack. When packing drinks for lunch, water or low-fat/fat-free milk are the best options. Water provides hydration with- out added calories, sugar or fat. Low-fat/fat-free milk provides nutrients such as calcium, vita- min D and protein. For children ages 4 through 8, the daily recommendation is 2 1 ⁄2 cups of dairy. For children ages 9 through 18, the daily recommendation is three cups. Drinks such as fruit punch and soda increase calories and sugar intake and do not provide nutri- ents. Be sure the items you pack are "kid-friendly" and your child is able to open the packages and containers you send. Make lunch fun. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cut- ters. Allow your child to be a part of packing their lunch.Allow them to choose the fruit for the day or ask would they prefer yogurt or string cheese as a side. Oftentimes, children are more likely to consume food they had a hand in choosing. Here are lists of proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy items that you can choose from when packing your child's lunch: Protein • peanut butter • deli ham • deli turkey • soup or chili with meat and beans • hard-boiled egg • nuts (almonds, peanuts, trail mix) Grains • whole wheat bread • whole wheat crackers • tortilla • pretzels • baked chips • English muffin • thin or mini bagel • pita bread • low sugar cereal (aim for less than10g sugar per serving) Fruit 12 — Goldsboro News-Argus Thursday, August 3, 2017 2302 Wayne Memorial Dr. Goldsboro 919.735.6936 HOME HEALTH CARE WAYNE PHARMACY & RESPIRATORY HOME CARE We have what you need in the classroom, at home and on the field! FREE City-Wide Delivery 115DCT0716D© • 24 Hour Emergency Prescription Service • Diabetic Supplies Orthopaedic/Prosthetics • Respiratory Services Medical Equipment PHARMACY SERVICES INCLUDING... Most Prescription Plans Accepted including BC/BS, TriCare, Federal & State Employees & Many others 919.735.4034 PHARMACY Open 7 Days A Week Packed lunch can be nutritious — and tasty See PACKED LUNCH,Page 19 The MyPlate can be a guide to packing a healthy lunch for your child for school.

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