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Boost flavor in your child's lunch, not salt

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Boost flavor in your child's lunch, not salt

Depending upon where you live, school has just started or is about to start. You know how important it is to send your kids off with a good breakfast but being thoughtful about lunch is also critical. One of the best ways to tackle lunch – and to get your kids to eat it- is to get them involved in the process.

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This blog post is written by Sally Sampson, the Founder and President of ChopChop Kids. Photo by Carl Tremblay

When my kids were little, we made a chart of the foods they liked (and were acceptable to me) and that became the basis for our shopping list. Here, below, we’ve done it for you, including all sorts of nutritious, delicious and interesting things to make sandwiches more exciting. Of course, salads, yogurt parfaits, soups, rice bowls and leftovers are also good and just as easy to mix and match with tasty and acceptable ingredients.

Kids need energy all day long.

As you and your child prepare lunch (or breakfast!), keep in mind the importance of foods that are good for maintaining energy throughout the day. On an average school day (during the 2009-2010 school year), 26% of the sodium eaten by a child came from school cafeteria foods, so set your child up for success by boosting the flavors in their lunch rather than the salt.

Using the chart below, you can see that there is a wide world of possibilities for sandwiches! Don’t limit yourself to the usual, or even to just these suggestions. As long as there is a good balance of protein and vegetables, textures and tastes, and a whole lot of colors, you’re going to have a sandwich that satisfies your kid’s flavor cravings.

Sandwich Mix-and-Match

Base [1] 

 

(Pick 1)

Protein 

 

(Pick 1)

Vegetable [2]

 

(Pick 2 or 3)

Fruit

 

(Pick 1)

Condiments

 

and Dips

Whole- wheat bread or toast Chicken salad Shredded Carrots or purple cabbage Sliced pears Pesto
Whole Grain Wrap Sliced boiled eggs Greens, including romaine lettuce, mesclun, or spinach Sliced grapes Beet or cucumber tsatsiki
Whole Grain roll Ham Sliced radishes Sliced pineapple Mustard
Whole grain Tortilla Turkey Avocado Dried cranberries Footnote Hummus
Whole-wheat English muffin Tuna salad Sliced tomato Sliced apples Guacamole
Pita Hummus Ratatouille or roasted vegetables Fresh peaches Sliced Cucumbers
Whole-wheat hamburger or hot-dog bun Cheese[3] Sprouts Raisins Super Simple Citrus Drizzle Dressing
Naan Peanut or Walnut butter Sliced cucumbers Banana Jam or apple butter

[1]Breads are one of the Salty Six., so be sure to compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of sodium, look for the Heart-Check mark on food products to identify healthier options, and choose whole grain when the option is available.

[2] Processed meats such as ham, turkey and other deli/lunch meats are one of the Salty Six. To reduce dietary sodium and saturated fat, the American Heart Association recommends limiting processed meat to no more than two 2-ounce servings per week. There are many options in deli meats and a lot of nutritional differences between products, especially in sodium and saturated fat content. Compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of sodium and saturated fat, and look for the Heart-Check mark on food products to identify healthier options.

[3] Cheese is a one of the Salty Six., so be sure to Compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of sodium and saturated fat, and look for the Heart-Check mark on food products to identify healthier options.

Sally Sampson founder of ChopChop Kids magazineSally Sampson is the Founder and President of ChopChop Kids.

Read her full bio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.