Every parent wants to feed their child the healthiest, most nutritious foods possible. Unfortunately, when it comes to packing school snacks and lunches unhealthy convenience foods somehow make their way into our kids’ backpacks and lunch boxes. Packing healthy foods may take a little extra planning, but it’s well worth it. Diet does have an impact on how well kids perform at school. Poor nutrition contributes to ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, and violence.

Start by making a weekly snack and lunch menu focusing on whole foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, quality proteins, and healthy fats. Because children are more vulnerable to the dangers of pesticides, always choose organic foods. Snack ideas include fresh vegetables and fruits, dried fruits, rice cakes or whole grain crackers with nut butter, raw nuts, popcorn, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, and homemade whole grain muffins, cookies, or quick breads.

For lunch try whole grain pasta with sliced turkey, homemade nori rolls, lentil soup with homemade bread, hummus and veggies in a whole wheat pita, and tuna salad on whole grain bread. Leftovers make a quick, healthy lunch, too!

The Container Store in Denver has some great options for back to school snack and lunch containers. I like the “take a dip” container that holds veggies and dip. Check out all of the cool new back to school containers at the Container Store.

The key to success is getting your kids involved. They’re more likely to eat foods they chose and help prepare!

My next article will offer suggestions for healthy after school snacking. Until then, make every bite count!