Healthier options for
By Georgia Orcutt
those brown-bag meals
SCHOOL LUNCHES HAVE become a hot
topic. First lady Michelle Obama has added
the “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative to her
ambitious “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign
by pairing chefs nationwide with their local
schools to create healthier meals and teach
kids about nutrition.
Dietitians and doctors from coast to
coast are urging us to pay attention to what
we feed our kids at school, as well as at home,
to give them enough energy to get through
the academic day and participate in after-school activities. We must also protect them
from the consequences of obesity: According
to the federal “2010 Dietary Guidelines for
42 ;e Costco Connection SEPTEMBER 2010
The Costco Connection
Costco offers everything you need for healthy
school lunches—including fresh and frozen
foods and containers for storage—as well as
a wide selection of other back-to-school
needs in all warehouses.
Americans” report, “Since the early 1970s,
the prevalence of overweight and obesity has
approximately doubled among children ages 2
to 11 years, and tripled among adolescents ages
12 to 19 years.”
What can you, as a parent, do?
Get involved. Stop by the school at noon
and take a look at the food being served. If
your child eats a lunch the school provides,
find out what the school and others in the
community are doing to promote nutritious
meals. If you pack your child’s lunch each day,
buy minimally processed foods that contain
healthy fats and fiber. This is a good lesson: It
will help your child be well and develop sound
eating habits for life.
Here are a few other ways to think outside
the traditional lunchbox:
• Kids find it easier to eat fruit and vegetables that are cut into bite-size pieces. Make a
fruit salad, using chopped apples, melon chunks
and berries and add a few cubes of cheese.
Blend cottage cheese with pineapple chunks.
Stir a few fresh or frozen berries into yogurt.
Try to include a variety of colorful, fresh foods.
• Make sandwiches with lean meats such
as turkey and chicken, whole wheat bread,
pita bread, wraps, tortillas or flatbreads.
Spread the bread with hummus and add lettuce and cheese. (You can use frozen bread; it
will thaw by lunchtime.)
• Think beyond sandwiches: Pack strips
of cold chicken with honey mustard dressing
or salsa for dipping; make kebabs with fruit
and diced chicken or turkey; pair a container
of hummus with whole-grain crackers or
baby carrots for dipping; spread rice cakes
with peanut butter or hummus; pack cold
pasta with fresh veggies; or heat up last night’s
stew and put it in a thermos.
As the school year begins, try these recipes for healthier lunches and snacks. C
Georgia Orcutt is the author of How to Feed a
Teenage Boy (Ten Speed Press, 2007) and the
Cooking USA series (Chronicle Books).