6 Lunch Box Swaps That Make The Grade By Stacey Stein A healthy lunch can help your child to stay energized, satisfied and better able to pay attention at school. Packaged lunch box treats like cookies and veggie chips may be convenient, but they won’t fuel your child with the nutrients they need to keep going during the long school day. Instead, keep your child fuelled and satisfy their desire for tasty foods with these yummy and nutrient-rich lunch box swaps: Instead of juice, pack fresh whole fruit and veggies. Eating fruit and veggies is far more satisfying than drinking juice (drinking doesn’t signal fullness to your brain like whole foods do); whole fruit and veggies also have fibre to help your child to feel full longer. Skip the pre-made lunch kits filled with processed meats and salty or sweet snacks. Instead, make simple do-it-yourself lunch kits. Buy a reusable divided container and let your child pack his/her own lunch kit with finger foods such as whole grain crackers or mini pita, chunks of cheese, crunchy roasted chickpeas, snap peas, baby carrots or sweet cherry tomatoes with dip. Instead of fruit cocktail or punch drink boxes that deliver a whole lot of sugar with few or no healthful nutrients, pack water and milk (skim, 1% or 2% milk); both are hydrating, which can help your child stay alert. Water is a calorie and sugar-free thirst-quencher while milk offers 16 nutrients for a healthy body. Say no to fruit gummies. Although the packages make it look like they are close to real fruit, they are anything but! They are candies that use fruit juice concentrate (read sugar) to sweeten and add flavour. What to pack instead? Real fruit! Go for bite-size berries, clementine oranges or grapes. Instead of white bread sandwiches filled with salty processed deli meats, fill whole grain bread, tortillas or buns with leftovers of lean home-roasted meats such as beef, chicken or turkey. Black bean and hummus are nutritious vegetarian choices. Nut butter alternatives like sesame butter are good choices and are allowed in some schools – but check school policy first. Instead of nutrient-poor cookies or sugary pudding cups, send protein-packed Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese. Kids will love the sweet taste and smooth texture and you’ll love that it’s nutrient-rich! One single serve container has 10 grams of protein for longer lasting energy and it’s high in calcium for healthy bones. Vanilla bean flavour makes a fantastic dip for strawberries.