Brown Bagging Best

Kids who bring their lunches to school are better off than those who eat the school lunch. If you’ve watched Jamie Oliver’s endeavors to improve the school lunch menu, you know what I mean.

A new study confirms that children who eat a school lunch instead of a packed lunch from home and spend two hours a day watching TV or playing video games are more likely to be obese. The study was published in the American Heart Journal.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center examined data from 1,300 children who participated in Project Healthy Schools, a school-based program to teach middle-school students about healthy lifestyles.

Zach is caught red-handed with a nutrition-less school lunch.

They found 58 percent of obese children had watched two hours of TV in the previous day, compared to 41 percent of non-obese children. Forty-five percent of obese students always ate school lunch, but only 34 percent of non-obese students ate school lunch.

Need inspiration? You’ll improve your child’s health by packing your child’s lunch. Just a little planning will make lunches interesting.

When you’re deciding what to cook for dinner, think about how you might incorporate leftovers into a lunch for the following day. Make a few extra servings and set them aside for the next day’s lunch.

  • When preparing chicken breasts, cook extra servings and slice for sandwiches the next day instead of purchasing deli lunch meat.
  • When making a salad for dinner, slice some extra vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and celery, or make an extra undressed salad directly in the Laptop Lunch. (Make extra dressing and pour it into the dip container.)
  • While you’re making dinner, boil a few eggs. Pack the eggs whole, make deviled eggs, or use them in egg salad.
  • Make extra pasta, couscous, or rice and make side salads for lunch by cutting up vegetables and adding salad dressing.
  • Grill extra vegetables and use them in sandwiches.
  • Make an extra baked potato and pack it with nutritious toppings
  • Sandwich Fillings
    There’s more to lunch than PB&J. Incorporate different sandwich fillings in whole-wheat pocket bread, on whole-grain bread, bagels, crackers, English muffins, rice cakes or rolls, or try filling and rolling tortillas or flat bread.

  • Cheese, avocado and sprouts
  • Grilled cheese with cucumber or sprouts
  • Shredded carrots, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, avocado, and cheese
  • Leftover grilled vegetables (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini) with sliced cheese, goat cheese, or pesto sauce
  • Cheddar or mozzarella cheese with apple slices
  • Cheese, tomato, sprouts or lettuce, and pesto sauce
  • Leftover meat or turkey loaf with tomatoes, and lettuce or sprouts
  • Sliced chicken or turkey, cranberry sauce, and lettuce
  • Sliced chicken or turkey, honey mustard, tomatoes, and lettuce or sprouts
  • Sliced leftover beef with mayonnaise or horseradish, sliced tomato and cucumbers
  • Chicken salad made with celery, lettuce, and tomato
  • Tuna/cucumber/green pepper salad with tomato
  • Salmon salad with lettuce or sprouts
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