Open up the topic of school lunches and everything from exasperated sighs to warm memories spill out.
“Do your kids actually eat what you send?”
“Remember Dunkaroos? I loved Dunkaroos!”
“Packing lunches drives me crazy.”
While preparing for this issue, our office conversations turned into a sort of lunch box debate. Is it really fair to ask a kiddo to eat broccoli and quinoa salad when we were raised on bologna sandwiches and Hostess? And, is it more important to send only 100 percent healthy foods or things kids will actually eat? We landed on an agreement that the answer lies somewhere in the middle: find healthy lunch box-friendly foods that kids like, then save experimental foods (we’re looking at you, zucchini tots) for try-outs at home. Most importantly, though, send foods in the lunch box that will give kids sustained energy and brainpower for a day of learning.
To better understand how to pack a powerhouse lunch, we turned to dietician Jan Walker at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She shares a formula for building a lunch that will keep kids nourished and ready to learn.