Lunch and snacks for kids: go natural!

I sometimes wonder if my kid is the odd one out at lunchtime (her lunches) at her school. I see all these other kids with their lunchables, apple sauce, fruit yogurts and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Simone, my 3 year old, even fights me sometimes because she wants to eat that stuff. But it’s unhealthy for her,as this article from Yahoo says. These lunchable snacks are full of processed food items that are high in fat and sodium while the apple sauce and fruit yogurts are full of added sugar. I don’t want to feed this stuff to my kid. This mom says NO!

The good news is that I can prepare a healthy lunchable-type lunch for her, so that she doesn’t feel like the odd kid out. As the article states, you can do wonders with whole wheat pita bread and lean turkey.

We as parents face the same dilemma in many other foods. Peanut butter and jelly is an American tradition and rightly so, it tastes great. PB &J is an awesome comfort food. But let’s do it healthy: pay a few extra cents for each serving by buying quality peanut butter, using preserves instead of jelly (which is usually flavored sugar) or fresh fruits instead of jelly and wheat bread instead of white. Now all of a sudden you have a healthy meal that has protein, fat, and complex fiber.

The really sad thing I notice is that much of the food our kids eat is one of the five described in this article. We are just feeding our kids empty calories. We have to stop!

Here are five things you can do right now to improve your child’s health:

1) Replace white bread with wheat

2) Don’t buy fruit flavored yogurt. Buy plain yogurt (or make your own) and add your own fruit. You can even have your kid help you out here.

3) Don’t feed your kids sauces like applesauce, or pear sauce. Get them to eat the actual fruit so that they can get the fiber. If you must feed them applesauce, get the good stuff, or better yet, make it yourself with organic apples.

4) Feed your kids popcorn. It’s a fun snack and very, very healthy. Just leave off the butter and salt. If you must add flavor, sprinkle some lime juice on it.

5) Do not, under any circumstances, give them a juice box. They don’t need juice. Give them the actual fruit.


  1. Christina says:

    These are all excellent points but please be careful – popcorn is not for babies or toddlers. Popcorn is very hard to dislodge if a child chokes on it – so please wait till your child is older. I don’t know exactly what age but I would think 5 years old can handle it.

  2. Rashmi says:

    Excellent point on popcorn for babies and toddlers. I think the right age for eating popcorn is very child specific. I know my daughter has been eating popcorn in very small quantities from when she was 3 years old.

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