Packing healthy lunch for kids can be easy

Author: Rachel McNeill, Anchor/Medical Expert, rmcneill@kprc.com
Published On: Aug 30 2012 04:03:00 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 27 2012 12:33:22 PM CDT
Healthy Lunch
HOUSTON -

As the kids get ready to head back to school, you can almost hear the collective groan of parents who have to start packing those lunches again.

But there are ways to serve up easy, healthy lunches that will have your child the envy of the school cafeteria.

Registered dietitian and mom Rhonda Elsenbrook with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic said a common mistake parents make when packing lunches is choosing convenience over natural foods.

"They're not going for the fresh vegetables and fruits or they're too heavy in the starches and grains," she said. "They're not getting enough protein, which keeps kids full throughout the day."

She showed us three easy meals.

Not sure what to do with last night's chicken leftovers? Wrap it in a whole wheat tortilla with fruit and yogurt on the side.

Hot lunch lovers can enjoy soup with hummus, carrots and fruit salad.

Even everyone's favorite pizza can be made healthy.

Elsenbrook said, "If you make pizza at home, you can use something like sandwich thins. They're readily available and they have less crust, (then add) your tomato sauce and a lower-fat cheese."

Elsenbrook also said to stay away from sodas and juices, instead steering kids toward water. She recommended adding low-calorie, sugar-free flavoring packets to make water more enticing.

Moms and dads aren't on their own here. Have the kids help out. It will establish healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.