Day Eight / Make it Healthy, Make it Count

Welcome to the first of five special feature posts focusing on healthy school lunches!
I hope you're enjoying the visual lunch ideas, now for some talk about whole foods and a balanced diet...

Of course, our main goal is to eat in such a way that we have energy, feel strong and stay at a healthy weight.
The US Department of Agriculture has recently released an alternative to the traditional food pyramid.

It's called the Plate Model. Creative title, eh? 
Same focus -- vegetables and whole grains, just a simpler, easier to understand visual guide.

When I pack a school lunch, I try to include something from each category, if possible, providing variety and hopefully not missing any important nutrients in my child's diet.

Of course, sometimes the carrot sticks come home untouched.

But we try, right? [Spoiler!! Come back for Day 29: How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables] :)

Most importantly, fill your child's school lunch with calories that matter, not empty calories that provide nothing but sugar or fat and make their lives harder. Empty calories are addictive and don't give you that full feeling, so you eat too much! Yeah, sneaky little buggers.

Focus on whole foods -- almonds instead of a bag of chips, hummus and pita bread instead of those junior dippers, an apple instead of the fruit snacks.

It's not that much harder. Promise.

More great lunch ideas coming up...

Welcome to my series -- 31 Days to a Healthy School Lunch!
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Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series.