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Summer vacation is nearly over, and the kids are heading back into the classroom. They’re excited, nervous, and will soon be diving into extra curricular activity. They will also be eating lunches and snacking away from home.

Although teenagers are notorious for eating junk food and spending time in front of electronic devices, many teenagers are interested in improving their health and physical form, but are unsure how. Here are a few tips to help point you (both) in the right direction…..

Packing your teen’s lunch is one way to make sure that they are eating some healthy food. Including your teen in the process, or encouraging your child to prepare and pack their own lunch or (pre-portioned) snacks the night before, will give your child a sense of responsibility. All you need to do is ensure that lunches are filled with foods that they actually like, plus encourage healthy eating habits!

Keep a variety of healthy fare on hand for your teen to choose from…

  • Include Calcium  rich foods like carrot juice, fortified orange juice, milk, cheese slices, yogurt, raw almonds, soy beans, edamame, hummus dips, broccoli crowns, green leafy salads or sandwich toppers, sprouts,  canned salmon (with bones), calcium fortified dry cereals, enriched wholegrain breads, grains and waffles.
  • Foods high in  Iron  liked cooked brown rice, beef and turkey, hard boiled eggs, spinach salad, pumpkin seeds, tofu, mixed, dried fruit, beans dips or spreads and fortified dry cereals and breads.
  • Provide Protein  rich foods like lean beef and white lunch meats, grilled or canned fish, nut butter spreads, hard boiled eggs, cheese slices, oatmeal
  • Healthy Carbohydrates  which can be found in wholegrain breads, bagels, tortilla wraps, crackers,  and pasta salads
  • Several varieties of  Fruits and Vegetables  – prewashed and/or sliced or grated for use in salads,  on sandwiches, bagels or wraps, pre-portioned dried fruit snack packs.
  • Don’t forget to include some Fun foods too! An outright ban rarely works – offer healthier alternatives like baked potato chips, toasted pita bread chips, pretzels made out of whole wheat flour, trail mix,  fig bars, and healthy popcorn blends or home-made baked goods.

Other factors to consider to insure quality of flavor, freshness and nutritional value..

  • Let your teen be their own cheerleader by choosing his or her own lunch container…
  • Consider using an insulated lunch box/bag with room for a small freezer pack (or frozen drink!) that allows you to send foods that must be kept cold, such as lunch meats, salads, yogurt, and dips for fresh vegetables.
  • Keep on hand small sturdy plastic containers for cut fruit, sliced or grated vegetables, dips and lunch foods other than sandwiches.
  • Conversely use larger lunch bags to avoid squishing foods

Help you and your teen reduce our carbon footprint by considering reusable products like, Lunchskins via our friends at the DailyGrommet as an eco-friendly alternative.

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