Learn how to pack wholesome, kid-approved lunches that include the food groups needed for proper nutrition with advice from a Hy-Vee dietitian.
Follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines of a mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy for a well-rounded, healthy diet.
Daily Recommendation: 1 to 2 cups Fruits are sources of essential nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate. These nutrients help maintain healthy blood pressure, aid proper bowel function and help with growth and repair of all body tissues.
Daily recommendation: 1 to 3 cups
Veggies provide vitamin C to keep teeth and gums healthy, vitamin A to protect against infections and fiber for digestive health. Vegetables are also low-calorie foods that may be useful in helping maintain a healthy weight.
Daily recommendation: 3 to 6 oz. of total grains (half of them whole grains)
The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin in whole grains play a key role in a healthy metabolism and weight by helping the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Daily recommendation: 2 to 5½ oz. Protein-rich foods are the building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood in the body. They include iron to prevent anemia, zinc to support the immune system and magnesium to build bones and aid muscle function.
Daily recommendation: 16 to 20 oz.
Calcium, found in dairy products, is especially important for children and adolescents when bone mass is still being built. Calcium promotes bone health and also helps prevent osteoporosis as people grow older.
Eating nutrient-rich meals and snacks during the school day helps kids concentrate and gives them the energy they need to perform their best, both in the classroom and during after-school activities. When packing lunches for school, try to include a protein, grain, dairy and a fruit and/or vegetable.”
– Amy Cordingley, MS, RD,
LD, Hy-Vee dietitian
Dietitian tips from Hy-Vee
“Make lunch appealing with creative presentation ideas. If you have extra time, thread fruits and veggies into kabobs or make sandwiches more visually fun with different shapes of cookie cutters.”
–Amy Cordingley, Hy-Vee dietitian
Make it a bento
In addition to the turkey breast, add cheese and whole grain crackers; fruit like berries, watermelon and pineapple; and vegetables like lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Don’t forget the milk!