This Morning: Maintaining healthy lunches for kids during the holiday season


As we head into the holiday season maintaining a healthy diet can often be difficult for kids, especially with all those sugary Halloween treats that are now laying around the house.

It might be easy to throw one or two pieces of Halloween candy in a lunchbox for your child and that’s fine.

But nutritional experts say when it’s paired with lots of other sugary treats and not enough whole grains, fruits and vegetables, that’s when problems can start.

“Eating things that aren’t super healthy for us things that are full of sodium full of sugar, full of especially saturated in trans fats, can lead to a slew of chronic illnesses as adults. You’re looking at diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancers as well as obesity and so if we can teach kids now to make healthy choices, it becomes a lot less difficult as adults to make those healthy decisions,” says Extension Community Nutrition Instructor at MSU Extension, Paige Utterback.

She says packing your child’s lunch is actually the easy part, but getting your child to eat and enjoy it may be more difficult.

So Utterback says take a look at what kinds of foods your kids already like and alter from there.

For example try a Greek yogurt based ranch dressing with carrots instead of regular ranch dressing.

Utterback says it’s got more protein and less fats.

Or cucumber and hummus.

She says most children actually like hummus more than you might think.

When it comes to more sugary items like fruit roll-ups or gushers.. try a real piece of fruit. 

And salty snacks like chips, look for sweet potato chips instead.

Just by doing these small switches, Utterback says it can help kids feel full and focused longer during the school day especially with all the sweets this holiday season.

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