Section: Barnabas Health Heart Center News

Tips for Packing a Heart-Healthy School Lunch


September is quickly approaching. This means kitchens across America will be buzzing as parents reach for the refrigerator to pack brown bags and lunch boxes. Before you head to the grocery store to stock up on lunch items, keep in mind these suggestions for packing a heart-healthy lunch from the cardiac experts at RWJBarnabas Health.

  • Replace white bread with 100 percent whole wheat bread, pita pockets or tortilla wraps.
  • Skip the chips and cookies and opt to include a fruit, vegetable and low-fat dairy product with your child's lunch. Grapes, sliced apples, baby carrots, cheese sticks and yogurt are all great choices that are easy to eat and will help keep your child feeling satisfied through the afternoon.
  • Replace sugary beverages like soda, juice or sweetened iced tea with water, unsweetened iced tea, low-fat milk or flavored water or seltzer.
  • Substitute a high-calorie condiment like mayonnaise with its low-fat/light alternative or use mustard or try adding avocado or hummus to a sandwich for moisture.
  • While it may slow the process a bit, engaging your child in choosing his/her lunch increases the chances he/she will actually eat what's been packed for them rather than reaching into their pockets to find money for the vending machine.

For more information about children and nutrition, visit the RWJBarnabas Health Health Library at

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