All Entries For lunch

School Milk Gets a Makeover

According to a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics, children are in need of a milk makeover. Although seventy-seven percent of children and adolescents (ages of 2 and 19) are drinking some milk on a daily basis, nearly one-third of them (32 %) report drinking whole milk. Adolescents reported drinking low-fat milk (either one percent or skim) more often, children between the ages of six and eleven tended to select two-percent milk and those between the ages,  of two and five tended to drink whole milk most often. There were race and family income differences in milk selection identified too. Whole milk choices were more prevalent in black and Hispanic homes as well as in those homes with a low poverty income ratio.

With concerns about childhood obesity and after last year's passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, some school districts began removing flavored milks from their cafeterias. Unfortunately, research found that when flavored milk was removed from elementary schools there was a 35 percent drop in milk consumption. Without drinking milk as part of a healthy lunch, it is very difficult for students to meet their daily needs for calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. This is concerning since these nutrients, important for growth and development, were identified to already be limited in children's diets according to the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As part of the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, changes in nutrition requirements for fluid milk served at school were necessary by the start of this school year. Here's what's new in school cafeteria milk.
Posted 9/26/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 40 comments   11,674 views
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Food on the Run: Caribou Coffee

When I want a coffee treat on my way to work, I have two easy choices on my way. I can turn left into a Starbucks or if the line is long, I can turn right into a Caribou Coffee. Caribou Coffee houses are currently only in about half of the states and are predominantly found throughout the eastern and mid-western portions of the country so it may not be an option you are familiar with right now. Considering a Starbucks seems to show up next to a Caribou or vice-versa around here, chances are you might very soon. If you are a big Keurig fan, you may have seen the name on one of their K-Cup options.

In addition to coffee drinks and sweet pastries, Caribou has recently increased their breakfast and lunch offerings most likely to compete with the new Starbucks Bistro Boxes. Here is a quick guide to some of the better options to select next time you find the line to the right shorter than the line to the left.
Posted 9/19/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 27 comments   14,388 views
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The Best Kid-Tested Lunchbox Recipes

My nephew phoned me last week to tell me that his first day of kindergarten was great. He loved his teachers, made some new friends, and got to eat his cookie before he ate his sandwich and vegetables because his mom was not around to tell him that he could not--freedom at last! I had to laugh because it made me think just how many other kids out there do the same. I would guess a lot.

Can't you see them all now sitting at the lunch table together, unpacking their new lunch bags then holding up the after-meal treats as a toast to newfound freedom? Let's just hope the lunch lady does not catch on. I guess the moral of the story is that if you give them a treat you know they will eat it first, so why don't you send them with a healthy treat? Then everyone is happy. I like to pack Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins in my kids' lunch boxes for a sweet treat--one that will add fiber and fruit to the meal.

So besides a healthy treat, what else should you pack?

Posted 9/12/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 9 comments   13,248 views
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Think INSIDE the Lunchbox with '4 Ingredients'

Editor's Note: I recently connected with Kim McCosker, of the Australian best-selling cookbooks and popular websites, 4 Ingredients. Vivacious and passionate, the 4 Ingredients team is run by busy moms who are committed to making healthy cooking easy and fun for the whole family. Today, Kim shares her best tips for getting kids to eat right at lunchtime.
With three active and growing boys ages 9, 6 and 3, lunchboxes are a part of my family’s daily routine! If you are like me, a busy mom intent on giving your kids delicious, nutritious lunches, here are some great ideas to get your children back to school packed with healthy foods.
I like these because they are quick, easy and economical and often help me make use of my leftovers.
Choose a lunchbox with individual compartments, or otherwise use lidded containers, kids loooove little containers of things! Then add some of these...

Apple slices: Served with peanut, cashew, or almond butter or then sprinkled with coconut or raisins. Or add thinly sliced orange and lemon slices with honey to the top.
Cheese cubes: With sliced turkey and grapes--for a lunchbox cheese board!
Posted 8/29/2011  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 21 comments   41,166 views
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Fit & Fresh Makes Healthy School Lunches Cool Again

Editor's Note: This is a sponsored post from a SparkPeople partner.

 Getting kids to eat right away from home can be an uphill battle. First, you have to pack foods they will actually eat--and not trade with friends for a cupcake or pitch in the garbage when the recess bell rings. But that's not all. Healthy foods also tend to be more perishable, so you have to pack a lunch in a way that will keep your little ones from getting sick. And let's face it: Kids like to look cool.

That's why we're so excited to share with you these affordable and kid-friendly Fit & Fresh ™ lunch kits with you. Not only do these kid-size containers look super fun (bright colors and neat graphics), but they are also made to keep foods at the proper temperature. That means no more worrying whether your son's turkey sandwich will spoil before lunch! (Think an ice pack is optional? Think again: Almost 40% of the time, parents don't pack ice to keep lunches cool, putting kids at risk for food-borne illnesses, according to a recent study.)

Since school isn't quite in session here in Cincinnati, we tried these out for ourselves in the SparkPeople offices. (We're all kids at heart, anyway!)  I packed a sandwich, carrots with hummus and a clementine into the containers in the morning when I arrived at work, then stored all the containers (including their custom-fit ice packs) at my desk until lunch. When noon rolled around, my lunch was still nice and cool. Whew!

Some of the parents in the office shared these kits with their kids, who are excited to use them when school starts. One of the moms pointed out that when kids have things that are "theirs"--such as these kits, they'll be less likely to forget them in a locker or on the bus.

Want to learn more about these nifty lunch kits?  


Kid's 25-piece Healthy Lunch Set with Removable Ice Packs ($24.99)

Let’s make lunch cool again! Our Kid's Healthy Lunch Set is PERFECT for packing school lunches with healthy snacks. Everything you need in one great set and at a great value. (Savings of $8.93– 26% off the individual piece price)

BONUS: Free shipping on all orders over $25

"Cool Possibilities" This unique set contains all of the 17 pc Healthy Lunch Set PLUS our Hot Lunch Container - great for those Hot Soup days!
What people are saying about our products:
"I love this set. I was reading all the reviews of the various other Fit & Fresh products and couldn't decide which to try... so this set worked well for me because it has different pieces for a low price."

"I love it for fruit and salads. The freezer pack kept things very cold."

"I use without the ice pack, they have a bit more room to hold dry snacks."

Kids Chill Container Set 14pc ($12.99)

Let’s make lunch cool again! Our Kid's Chilled Container Set is PERFECT for packing school lunches with healthy snacks. Everything you need in one great set and at a great value. (Savings of $4.95 – 28% off the individual piece price)

"Cool Possibilities" (2) 1 cup smart portion containers, (2) 2 cup smart portion containers, (2) 1/2 cup containers and two ice packs for the 1 cup & 2 cup smart portion containers.

(SparkPeople sells the 17-piece Healthy Lunch Kit in the SparkPeople Store!)

What people are saying about our products:
"I put applesauce, cottage cheese, etc in them and they seal just fine!"

"I will end up buying more to use for myself for when I pack my own lunch for work."

"I have zero complaints and will be encouraging all my other preschool mommies to get this for their child."

All Fit & Fresh™ products

  • BPA free and meet FDA regulations for food-grade plastic

  • Easy to clean

  • Freezer, and microwave safe

  • Top-rack dishwasher safe (except for the ice packs). Do not microwave the ice packs.

Now, what's for lunch? Here are some great resources from the moms and experts at SparkPeople to get you started:

·School Lunches: The Newest Childhood Obesity Risk

·How to Pack Lunch in 5 Minutes, Plus Healthy Recipes

·Healthy School Lunch Recipes Your Kids Will Love to Eat

·Tips to Pack a Nutrient Rich Lunch to Save Pennies

·How to Pack a Waste-free Lunch

How do you get your kids to eat right away from home? What is your child's favorite healthy lunch?

Posted 8/22/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 14 comments   16,948 views
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Tips to Pack a Nutrient Rich Lunch to Save Pennies

School bells will soon be ringing all across the country. This means lunchrooms will fill up with hungry children ready for a nutritious break in their day. While you may have prepared to pack a waste-free lunch, are you ready to pack one that is nutrient rich?
Some of the best ways to increase nutrition and decrease waste is to skip pre-packaged, convenience foods that are expensive and offer processed foods that tend to be loaded with sodium and preservatives. If you can include last night's leftovers in a way it can be consumed at a safe food temperature, go for it. Avoid thinking of lunch in terms of a sandwich, chips, and a cookie like what you get in a boxed lunch from the deli. Instead, think balanced meals, whole foods, and creativity. After all, finger foods are usually a hit with the kids and can save on utensils too. You might also want to include a wet washcloth in a container so they can easily wash their hands. Here are some helpful tips to help you create a nutrition rich, penny-wise lunch for children and adults alike.
Posted 8/15/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 16 comments   17,156 views
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How to Pack a Waste-free Lunch

Concerns continue regarding the number of overweight and obese children and teens in schools today. Trends in chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension affecting younger and younger populations also continue. Some have apprehension regarding the lack of plant-based choices in schools. Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver has shed light on just how unhealthy school lunch programs can be with several seasons of Food Revolution on ABC. Although some legislative proposals have made traction, school lunch programs still face strict governmental guidelines and deep school wide cost cutting that makes administering healthier meals a challenge. I hope we will begin to see healthier school lunches in schools across the nation but until then, our best hope for healthier children begins at home. The dog days of summer and trying to stay cool during extreme heat hardly seems like the time to think about school lunches. However, school supplies are beginning to line department store shelves. If you want your children or grandchildren to have healthy, waste-free, and cost effective lunches this school year, you will need to start planning now.
Posted 7/25/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 46 comments   35,272 views
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School Lunches: The Newest Childhood Obesity Risk

Growing up, my mom usually packed my lunch for school. I was totally content eating the same thing day after day- typically peanut butter and jelly. Most kids in my grade school packed their lunches, but in high school things changed a little. I would pack my lunch, but then I'd also see what was being served in the lunch line. I'd usually buy some French fries and/or Little Debbie snack cakes (which I still love to this day), to "round out" my healthy meal. There were lots of high calorie, high fat foods to choose from.

I had friends (in grade school and high school) who bought their lunches daily. Sometimes there would be salad on their plates, but more often it was things like pizza and tator tots. That's why I wasn't surprised to read about a new study which found that kids who regularly purchased school lunches were more likely to be obese than those who brought their lunches.
Posted 2/24/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 89 comments   24,809 views
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Healthy School Lunch Recipes Your Kids Will Love to Eat

Need some ideas for packing healthy school lunches? We've rounded up some healthy and delicious recipes that your kids will love. 
Posted 8/24/2010  4:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 22 comments   100,396 views
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How to Pack Lunch in 5 Minutes, Plus Healthy Recipes

Hey, dailySpark readers! My name is Anne and I write a food and fitness blog called fANNEtasticfood.

I started my blog last year as a way to inspire others to lead healthier lives through nutrition and exercise. I post recipes, health tips, training plans, exercise moves, and more! Most recently, I’ve started a series on my blog featuring 5-minute packable lunch and snack ideas for the office. It really doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated to eat healthy on the go!

Some teasers:

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