It's Time Texas: Packing a healthy and tasty lunch

TYLER (KYTX) - Kids may look forward to lunch time to connect with the friends, but doctors say what they're eating needs to sustain their stomachs and their minds for the rest of the school day.

"Kids who are eating healthy foods are better students.  They are better students because they have less attention problems," says Dr. Valerie Smith, St. Paul Children's Clinic in Tyler.

Dr. Valerie Smith says its important to get each of the main food groups into your child's lunch. That includes, a fruit, vegetable, protein and some whole grains. But, she says it is easy to fall into a sandwich rut.

"you can obviously try different meats and cheeses, but one of the ways that's really easy are different kinds of bread," says Dr. Smith.  Here's a tortilla.  You can roll the meat up and cut it into pin wheels, here's a bagel thin, a pita pocket and that's even a whole grain English muffin."

It offers your child different textures and flavors.  "One of my family's favorite things to put in those pockets is hummus and some spinach with turkey, and you get all of your food groups in one container."  Hummus, she says, can be one of many great dip alternatives for veggies.

"This is cream cheese with a little salsa mixed in.  It's creamy with a little spice and very little fats with a lot of nutrients," says Dr. Smith. 

Another veggie source, pasta salad. You can customize it for your family. "This one is a Greek salad, so it has tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese and a little lemon and olive oil.  You could easily make an Italian one," says Dr. Smith. 

Or, you could make an edamame salad with-- "soybeans, cucumbers and shredded carrots and the dressing is soy sauce and rice wine vinegar."  It's full of protein and vitamins. These type of salads can be made the night before.  A huge time saver on busy mornings.

While most kids like fruit, a good dip sweetens the chances they'll eat it.  "This is just plain low fat yogurt with a bit of honey.  It helps give it a little sweetness," says Dr. Smith. 

Smith says it's just as important to know what not to put in your child's lunch.  That's anything high in sugar, like soft drinks, that will drop their blood sugar and their attention span .


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