Preparing healthy and tasty school lunches

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents and students are getting ready for school to start.

For many, that means setting the alarm clock earlier to prepare lunch.

Creating healthy school lunches can be a daunting task. Registered Dietician Kirby Branciforte says first you should have a plan. Figure out how much you want to spend and when to shop.

“As easy as you make it for yourself to grab those foods that increases the likelihood that they’ll make it into the lunch box,” Branciforte said.

When you’re mapping out the menu, Branciforte said it’s best to have fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

“Whole grain pita, whole grain tortilla wraps, are great for wrapping up left overs. Brown rice is also good. You can have that cold or toss it with some veggies and you’ve got a great instant meal,” she said.

Wegmans encourages people to try the half-plate healthy method. Half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables and the other half with anything else. “That way you can feel better about kids having some small indulgences,” Branciforte said.

She also suggested that you make lunch in advance. That way you can prepare a variety of meals. Over time kids can enjoy a sandwich, pita, even a pita pizza. Just ensure the protein is lean. “Things like turkey or chicken are going to be a great addition. They won’t provide as much fat or sodium. Also, they’ll help keep your kids from being hungry throughout the day.”

If your child stays after school for a sport or activity, Branciforte recommends that they eat a hearty snack like a whole grain bar filled with protein.

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