With school about to start again – or in some places, is already under way – a government initiative is providing tips for busy parents on how to pack healthier school lunches, and there’s no reason the supermarket deli can’t be a part of it.
Lean meats, nutritious cheese, vitamin-packed salads and healthful prepared-food options can certainly find a place in youngsters’ lunchboxes and offer comfort to time-starved moms and dads looking for solutions their kids will not toss, trade away or cart home uneaten.
As part of its better-for-you eating suggestions, LetsMove.gov, a program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, recommends making small changes that can make a notable difference in a school lunch that satisfies hunger, yet also provides key nutrients and fits into an active lifestyle. For example, planning ahead by not only buying healthier foods and snacks in advance but prepping them the night before instead of on a rushed morning, is one step in ensuring a healthier midday meal at school.
Parents are advised to “pack a rainbow” by adding more colorful fruits and vegetables and, to appeal to kids, make them more interesting and flavorful by adding dipping sauces or cutting fruits and veggies in a fun way. So deli managers, partner up with the produce team on some creative cross-merch.
Leverage your bakery as well: Swapping out white bread for whole-grain bread or other whole grains (like whole-wheat tortillas or pitas), LetsMove.gov advises, is easy switch to add more nutrition, as is sending bottled water in place or low-fat milk of sugary drinks. And be sure to remind shopping parents, to ensure food safety, to keep foods at the proper temperature by sending ice packs for cold foods or putting hot foods in a thermos.