28 August 12 Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Guest blog for MyNetDiary by Martha Henze MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

The lunch bell rings. Are you ready?

Print out these two handouts and attach them to your refrigerator, and you will be ready!

1. Packing Healthy Lunches: Plan Ahead

2. Mix and Match Healthy Lunch Options Grid

1. Plan Ahead

Buy an insulated lunch bag

Buy ice packs (important for food safety for dairy and meat groups)

Buy a good quality thermos

Follow manufacturer's directions for food safety. Fill thermos with boiling water, put on lid, let sit for at least 10 minutes, pour out water, and then fill with your favorite leftover which has been heated up.

HINT: Cook once, eat twice!

I double many of my recipes, such as pasta dishes, soups, stir fry, and even hot oatmeal, so that the "planned overs" go in the thermos.

Buy plastic containers with lids, a variety of sizes.

HINT: Make Your Own "Trail Mix". It's cheaper and healthier!

In a 1/2 cup plastic container, mix:

60% carbohydrates, such as dried fruit, dried cereal, pretzels

40% protein, such as cashews, walnuts, pecans, beef jerky pieces

Delicious and nutritious!

What are two fruits that are often squishy by lunch?

If you guessed bananas and pears, you are correct. For my family, I bought a plastic banana holder which is a hit in the school cafeteria because it can also be held like a phone. We also use a pear packer which helps prevent bruising and brown spots. They are inexpensive and worth it! Order yours today!

2. Think Food Groups:

Have you ever wondered why different foods are placed in different food groups?

Each food group provides key nutrients that your body needs to grow and stay healthy.


For example, in the dairy group, what does milk, yogurt, and cheese have in common? They all are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for developing strong bones, helping to prevent osteoporosis and for teeth health.


Key nutrients in this group are protein and iron. Iron is the part of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. If your body is low in iron, you may develop anemia (low iron in the blood) and feel tired a lot.

Does the dairy group contain iron? No, there is no iron in milk. That is why eating a little bit from each food group each day is important to obtain the variety of vitamins and minerals that you need.

Fruits & Vegetables:

The key nutrients in fruits and vegetables are Vitamin C (helps with wound healing and supports a healthy immune system), Vitamin A (promotes healthy vision and a strong immune system) and fiber. Also, in the last 10 years over 5000 phytochemicals, which occur naturally in fruits and vegetables, have also been discovered due to new research technologies. Phytochemicals appear to have a protective effect in helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Grains: Choose whole grains!

What do tortillas, bread, pasta, rice, and quinoa have in common? Grains are a good source of carbohydrates/energy and B vitamins. B vitamins are important to help us use the carbohydrates we eat. Read the label! Choose breads and cereals that have at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber helps keep us fuller longer.

Of the following five foods group, pack at least three of the five food groups in a lunch, with at least one food being a fruit or a vegetable.






The foods you pack for you and your child will provide the energy and nutrients you need to learn and play at school and work. Without enough energy from food, you may feel tired and find it difficult to concentrate in class or difficult to perform optimally on the job.

Enjoy going beyond peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when packing your lunches!

Variety is the spice of life for good nutrition!


Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Meal Planning & Diets/Lunch

Related Posts:

This article can be found at https://www.mynetdiary.com/beyond-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches-guest.html