The Fidelis Care Blog

5 Easy Swaps for a Healthier School Lunch
8/16/2019 • Posted by Dr. Lisa Moreno, Pediatrician in Children's Health, Health and Wellness, Lunchology

Eating right can help children grow healthy and strong. This school year, make your child’s school lunch healthier with these 5 easy swaps:

1. Water instead of juice

Child holding water bottle

Water keeps your child hydrated without adding any sugar. Fruit juices may seem like a healthy choice, but they can have as much sugar as soda.

Extra tip: To save money and help the environment, choose a reusable water bottle.

2. Whole-wheat instead of white bread

Wheat bread piled on a cutting board

Whole-wheat bread has more fiber than white bread. Fiber helps digestion, and it can make your child feel fuller while eating fewer calories.

Extra tip: Choose bread labeled as “whole wheat.” This type of bread must be made with 100 percent whole-wheat flour. Bread labeled as “whole grain” can be made using up to 49 percent white flour.

3. Sugar-free cereal instead of snack bars

Sugar-free cereal in a bowl

Sugar-free cereal has fiber and is often enriched with vitamins. Even though snack bars sometimes have cereal or nuts in them, they are often high in sugar.

Extra tip: To save money, buy cereal in bulk and repackage it in snack-size bags.

4. Nuts instead of chips

Nuts in and around a bowl

Nuts contain important nutrients, such as proteins and healthy fats. Proteins are key for growth and development in children and teens. Chips lack many important nutrients, and are often high saturated fats and sodium.

Extra tip: Choose unsalted nuts to get all the protein without the added sodium.

5. Fruit instead of sweetened yogurt

Two baskets filled with peaches

Eating fruit is a healthy way to end a meal. Fruit contains many important nutrients, including fiber and key vitamins. Even though yogurt has calcium, it is often sweetened with high amounts of sugar.

Extra tip: To save money, choose seasonal fresh fruit when possible. If not available, choose frozen instead of canned fruit. Canned fruit is often made using sugar syrup.

Want healthy snack ideas for children? Download our Lunchology menu (PDF)!