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How to pack your kids a healthy school lunch this year: Cleveland Clinic doctor gives advice all parents should know

Tips on how to make quick, easy and nutritious lunches for your kids.
Credit: WKYC

CLEVELAND — The new school year is already upon us -- and you know what that means: Time to go to the grocery store and stock up on lunch items!

Sometimes, packing lunches can feel like a chore for parents, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, it doesn't have to be.

“You want to make sure you’re getting all the different food groups in a lunch. So packing fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy. A lot of times we’re just packing a sandwich and chips or something like that,” said Evelyn Benden, pediatric registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Benden says there are plenty of ways to pack quick, easy and nutritious lunches. Additionally, what your child eats really does matter as it can affect energy and concentration levels.

Lunches don't have to be extravagant. Try these ideas for easy packing:

  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Deli meat
  • Low-fat cheese or yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hummus
  • Beans
  • Mixed nuts
  • Carrots
  • Apple slices
  • Peeled clementine

If you're strapped for time, you could also use leftovers from the night before in a sealed container or meal prep before the school week.

“You don’t want to put things in their lunch that they really don’t like because they’re definitely not going to eat them. So maybe the foods that are harder, have home at dinner or on the weekends and pick things that you know they’re able to eat,” said Benden.

If your child likes the cafeteria experience, Benden says most schools have to follow certain nutritional guidelines. However, taking a peek at the meals ahead of time doesn't hurt.

Editor's note: The following video is from an unrelated story.

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