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Back-to-school: Here's how to pack a healthy lunch while saving time

Well-balanced meals are proven to improve academic success. A registered dietitian with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist explains what should be in a packed lunch.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Class is back in session for Triad Students. Well-balanced meals are proven to improve academic performance. While many students eat food provided by the school, there are many who prefer to bring their own lunch.

Annette Frain is a registered dietitian with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. Since early mornings can be busy for most families, she said it’s important to remember the three P’s: Planning, Packing, and Portion.

“One easy way I have for this is using a zip-top bag,” Frain said. “The idea is that you can go ahead and make things in advance so it’s all you have to do in that crazy morning because it’s hard to get back in the groove. Pull it out and know you can put it together. It’s simple, easy, but make sure it’s complete too nutritionally.”

Frain said the zipped bag can be placed in a lunchbox with an icepack. If your child likes condiments on their sandwich, she suggests putting them in between the cheese and/or meat in advance. Also, put any pieces of lettuce or tomato on the side to prevent the bread or tortilla from getting soggy.

“Here, I did a turkey and cheese wrap on whole wheat, portioned out with some peppers,” Frain said. “Also did clementines, or small oranges, as an easy way and there’s even a side of goldfish. Again, just trying to put together items that kids are going to like and enjoy, putting them in portion-controlled packing and making it easy to grab and go.”

Frain highly recommends parents keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum. She said too much sugar can cause kids to crash and burn out at the end of the day.

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