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Summer has come and gone and we’re in full back-to-school mode. Not only is checking off the supply list key to a successful school year, fueling your kids with well-balanced meals is too!

We met with our Corporate Dietitians to compile some easy-to-follow kid lunch guidelines. Check them out!

Balance

Always keep in mind balance when it comes to packing your kids lunch. You want to provide enough elements from the necessary food groups. Use the images below as a starter guide when picking from each category. Make sure to pack one serving each of both fruit and veggie, and one serving from the other food groups.

 

If you’re running low on time, stop by your local Publix to pick up a Deli Kid’s Meal. One of these pre-packaged grab-and-go meals and your kid will be ready for their busy day!

Portions

Portions for school-age children can vary based on sex, height, activity level and more. To stay up to date with the dietary needs of your family, speak to your family physician or pediatrician. Once you know how much and what foods your child needs to consume, you can use handy tricks to portion each meal (note these are adult sized hands):

 Palm=  3 ounces of protein
 Fist=  1 cup of rice or pasta
 Handful=  1 ounce of nuts
 Thumb=  1 ounce of cheese
 Thumb tip=  1 Tsp. of oil, butter, or mayonnaise

Storage

When it comes to food, always keep in mind how to properly store it. According the Department of Agriculture, you can use the checklist below to help keep your kids lunches out of the “danger zone” in which bacteria can grow:

  • Don’t allow perishable foods, such as cold cuts and yogurt, to remain at temperature between 40 and 140 ˚F for longer than two hours.
  • Keep hot foods hot. You can use insulated lunch boxes or insulted jars to do so.
  • Keep cold food cold. Throw in an ice pack or freeze a bottle of water to go into the lunch box!
  • Opt for less-perishable foods such as peanut butter, bananas, or apples as an afternoon snack instead.

Creativity

Getting creative when packing lunches can make eating fruits and veggies more fun for the little ones. Whether you turn your strawberries into butterflies or use celery sticks to make ants on a log, a little imagination can help take these meals to the next level. We know your kids will be excited to show off their delicious treats (and eat them, too)!

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You have the power to provide your kids with balanced nutrition to kick off the school year right! Share some of your favorite lunch box combinations with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! We look forward to seeing the tasty meals your kids will be eating this year.

Catalina H.

Written by

Catalina H. became a Publix associate in 2012 and has thought of it as a home away from home ever since. When choosing what to write about, she thinks about her own life and what she wants to know more about – that way she can learn something new, too! Although her favorite Publix brand product is the Bakery Carrot Cake, you’ll probably find her snacking on peppers and drinking lots of water when writing her blogs. Outside of work, Catalina enjoys fitness, reading, crafting, and exploring new things (do you see a theme here?).

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