One out of three American children is overweight or obese, according to U.S. government statistics, so the choices children make in school cafeterias are important. But what we pack in their school lunches also makes a big difference in their overall health.
On February 9, 2010, the White House officially kicked off First Lady Michelle Obama's childhood obesity initiative, the “Let's Move” campaign.
On Sept. 6, 2013, the First Lady said that her anti-childhood obesity campaign is creating a "cultural shift" in how Americans live and eat, and is beginning to have a positive influence on children's health.
"Make no mistake about it, we are changing the conversation in this country," Mrs. Obama told an elementary school audience. "We are creating a cultural shift in how we live and eat and our efforts are beginning to have a real impact on our children's lives. But I also want to be very clear…while we're finally beginning to make some progress, we still have a very long way to go before we solve this problem."
At PackIt, home of the original foldable, freezable lunch bag with an earth-friendly "eco-gel" lining, we believe that we can be a part of this positive change.
The Cool Lunch Cooler
Kids love our stylish, personal cooler bags, so they’re happy to take their lunches to school in a PackIt cooler.
But the food inside has to be right.
Every parent who makes lunches for kids knows the goal: to not have your picky eaters throw their lunch into the trash. There’s a strategy to building acceptable packed lunches.
Most importantly, avoid rejection by making sure that your child is familiar with (and likes) the foods you're packing before you pack them. Here are a few good cool lunchbox recipes from Cooking Light.
- The Pita Pocketeer – Low-fat Greek yogurt is the base for this tangy chicken salad. Chocolate kisses are perfectly portioned treats. Creamy Chicken Salad (1/2 cup) with mixed greens in half a 6-inch whole-wheat pita + 1 medium apple + 4 milk chocolate kisses. Stats: 446 calories, 4.6g sat fat, 451mg sodium.
- Whole-Wheat PB&J – An old favorite gets a healthy spin with a whole-wheat bagel. 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 2 teaspoons jam on 1 mini whole-wheat bagel + 1 oz. whole-grain chips (about 16) + 1 small banana. Stats: 467 calories, 2.6g sat fat, 413mg sodium.
- Lean 'n Green – Give salad greens some oomph with lots of lean protein. Mixed greens, 2 oz. rotisserie chicken, 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 hard-cooked egg, 2 tablespoons oil-and-vinegar dressing + 2 cups 94%-fat-free popcorn + 1 orange (peeled). Stats: 444 calories, 4g sat fat, 460mg sodium.
- The Cafeteria Club – On a whole-wheat wrap, opt for tasty guacamole instead of mayo. Slice the wrap into medallions and skewer on toothpicks for less mess at lunchtime. Wrap: 1 oz. oven roasted turkey breast, 1/2 oz. low-sodium ham, 1 tablespoon guacamole or avocado slices. Cut one lower sodium part-skim mozzarella stick into fourths and skewer with cherry tomatoes. Add 8 vanilla wafers. Stats: 439 calories, 6g sat fat, 795 mg sodium.
Give your kids something that is cool to carry their lunches in: a PackIt lunch cooler filled with foods they enjoy eating.