Foodie Friday: Packing A Better Brown Bag (Lunch, That Is) #ThisIsNow

Experts predict that nearly half of all U.S. children will be obese in the next few years. It’s no wonder when you consider what they’re eating, and what we adults are eating. Pizza, soda and baked goods are the top three sources of calories for most American children, reports the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. That means 40 percent of their daily calories are from fat and sugar. One way to help control what goes into our bodies, is by packing a lunch.

Amp up the nutritional benefits – for you or your children – with these better-for-you substitutions:

Instead of: PB&J on white bread
Pack: Whole-wheat pita and hummus
Why: More fiber, less sugar

Instead of: Soda or fruit juice
Pack: Low-fat chocolate milk
Why: Still tasty, but with calcium

Instead of: Chips or cheese puffs
PACK: Pretzels or popcorn
Why: Same crunch, less fat

Instead of: Romaine or iceberg lettuce salads
Pack: A salad made with arugula, kale or other darker green, plus superfoods like avocado and other veggies
Why: More vitamins and minerals

Instead of: Leftovers reheated in the microwave
Pack: A stir-fry salad -- toss leftover stir-fry with leafy greens and a ginger vinaigrette
Why: More vegetables, less boredom

Instead of: Lunch
Pack: Breakfast for lunch, like a wedge of vegetable frittata and a side of fruit
Why: A high-protein change of pace may help keep you from the mid-afternoon munchies

Instead of: Burrito
Pack: a burrito bowl without the tortilla, dressed with salsa
Why: All the taste, but fewer white carbs, calories and sodium

For more great lunch ideas, for you or the kids, browse our boards on Pinterest.

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