What makes a healthy school lunch

Sept. 14, 2011 at 6:26 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Packing a tasty and healthy school lunch may not be as hard as some parents think, a U.S. nutrition expert suggests.

Jamie Stang, a nutrition expert at the University of Minnesota, says a good place to start when preparing a school lunch is using the "myplate" as a model when deciding what to include in the lunch box.

"The new myplate is actually a good idea. You can use myplate on a plate or you can think of your lunch box as a plate," she says. "So, typically, we want to see at least half of the plate being fruit and vegetable," Stang says in a statement. "So, if you think of the lunch box, filling half of your lunch box with carrot sticks or bananas or grapes -- easy things that you can put in the lunch box."

The other half of the plate should be the protein and the carbohydrates.

"That could be anything from tuna or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that could be crackers and cheese, it could be hummus and pita chips -- but thinking about splitting the plate or lunch box half and half," Stand says.

For beverages, Stang says to drink water instead of sugary drinks and to use fat-free or 1 percent milk.

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