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Five Tips for Healthier Brown Bag Lunches


American kids consume 35-50% of their daily calories while in school--as a mom it's our quest to make sure that chunk of food isn't junk. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national non-profit founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity, have five tips to send your kids to school each day with healthier meals.

1. Mix it Up. When deciding what to put in your child'??s lunch box, try to mix it up and offer your child food from different food groups. This not only offers variety but it ensures a more balanced meal.

2. Make the Switch. Swap the white bread for whole wheat varieties for added boosts of fiber. Also switch from fatty meats to low-fat alternatives such as lean turkey or chicken breast.

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3. Hold the Mayo. Skip high-fat mayonnaise and other condiments. Instead use something with more flavor and fewer calories like mustard.

4. Give it a Second Chance. Use leftovers from dinner like salad, pasta, rice, chicken and other healthy options '?? put in a portable container and voila!

5. Keep it Simple. Avoid packaged '??convenience'? foods such as full-calorie soda, chips or cookies. These not only add up to a lot of excess fat, sugar, sodium and calories, but they can lead to an afternoon '??crash.'?

Try to Include:

* One serving of vegetables or salad and one serving of fruit (fresh, canned or dried can all count).
* A serving of a low-fat or fat-free milk or dairy item such as a low-fat cheese stick, a yogurt cup or some cottage cheese.
* One serving of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, peanut butter, beans or another protein source.
* A healthy drink such as water or 100 percent juice.

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