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Nutrition in a Box

What to Pack in Your Child's Lunchbox for Good Health and Learning

"Children eat their weight in a year or so in various food additives, artificial sweeteners and sulfites. "Children eat their weight in a year or so in various food additives, artificial sweeteners and sulfites," says Dr. Cass Ingram, natural remedies expert and author of How to Eat Right and Live Longer (Knowledge House Press, 2001) and Natural Cures for Killer Germs (Knowledge House Press, 2004). "It's no surprise they are plagued with various ailments."

So what does the doctor say you should put in your child's lunchbox?

  • Peanuts/peanut butter – This tasty staple, which has been around for years, has essential fatty acids necessary for promoting normal brain function and development. It's best to use a kind with minimal additives.

  • Hard-boiled egg – Provides much-needed protein for a child's growing body and strengthens the immune system, which means fewer sick days.

  • Yogurt with honey – Rather than going for the yogurt loaded with sugar and food coloring, give your child a dose of plain yogurt, known to enhance the digestion of other foods, with a little honey, known to have antibiotic qualities.

  • Soups with spices – Especially on those cold winter days, soup can be warming, and wonderful spices such as rosemary, oregano, cumin and sage have antimicrobial properties defending against colds and flu.
    Hint: Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C. Take tomato soup and add rosemary, oregano and sage for a quick and easy meal.

  • Sweet potato chips – Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, calcium, iron and vitamin C. They are a great alternative to greasy potato chips, and their sweetness can often satisfy the desire for other sweets.

  • Grapes – This fun finger food is best bought dark skinned, as they are the most nutrient dense. Grapes contain large amounts of disease-fighting bioflavonoids and are another way to remedy a sweet tooth.

  • Hummus – Made with pureed chickpeas, hummus is a great dip for children. It has both calcium and magnesium for building strong bones as well as B6 and iron. And the added lemon juice has vitamin C and antiseptic qualities.

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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