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Old 09-12-2007, 11:57 AM   #1
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What to pack for a preschooler?

Does anyone have any healthy ideas on what to pack for a preschooler? Seems all the aisle have stuff that are either too sweet or too salty and I want something for my little one that's healthy and good to eat. Thanks!

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Old 09-12-2007, 01:23 PM   #2
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apple slices with peanut butter
eggo waffles with cinnamon sugar
celery stuffed with cream cheese
Ham or turkey slice wrapped about cheese slice
rice cakes with jam
trail mix made with cereal, nuts and raisins
crackers spread with cream cheese and jelly
pita and hummus
tortilla chips with salsa
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:29 PM   #3
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There was an article on kids' lunches in my local newspaper recently with some interesting ideas: ARTICLE: Are your kids fed up with their lunches? ( - HamptonRoads.com/PilotOnline.com)

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:41 PM   #4
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I copied and pasted this from an article online awhile back.

5 Steps for a Perfectly Healthy Lunchbox:

1. Start with a PROTEIN Entrée. Make sure your selection provides at least eight grams of high quality protein -- protein can help stabilize your child's blood sugar level and keep them feeling fuller for longer periods of time. The following are some popular kid-friendly ideas:
  • Turkey roll ups
  • Ham and cheese pinwheels (lean ham and low-fat sliced cheese rolled in whole wheat tortillas)
  • Part skim string cheese
  • Low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small bag of whole grain cereal
  • Soy nuggets
  • Vegetable bean or chicken noodle soup in a thermos
  • Turkey or ham sandwich (on wheat bread with mustard or low-fat mayo)
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (use low-sugar jam and whole wheat bread)
  • Grilled chicken and vegetable wrap
  • Pasta salad with vegetables and shredded chicken (tossed in light Italian dressing)
  • Scoop of chicken salad made with low-fat mayo plus whole grain crackers or mini rice cakes
  • Turkey or bean chili in a thermos
2. Always include PRODUCE. When it comes to veggies, anything goes! The most popular kid-friendly raw varieties include baby carrots, celery, pepper sticks (especially red), cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. Favorite cooked veggies include sugar snap peas, string beans, broccoli, and corn on the cob. For fruit, toss in easy-to-pack, hand-held selections such as apples, bananas, peaches, plums, clementines, or grapes that are naturally low in fat and chock-full of nutrients and fiber.

3. Avoid CALORIC BEVERAGES. Don't let your kids drink their calories -- instead, save them for food. Pack appealing bottles of plain old water... Consider freezing their bottles the night before, so that they are still cold and refreshing by lunchtime.

4. Don't forget the FUN FOOD. If your child craves a sweet or salty treat -- throw one in. As long as snacks are portion appropriate and no more than 150 calories, anything can work (really). In fact, provide a variety of options and let your child select his or her daily fun food. Of course, shop for brands that avoid trans fat and high fructose corn syrup when you can. Try low-fat granola bars, 100-calorie packs, baked chips, soy crisps, 2 cookies, 4 Hershey Kisses, a Rice Krispie Treat, container of low-fat pudding, or even a fun-size chocolate bar.

5. Be CREATIVE.Put a smile on your child's face with a note from mom or dad, a temporary tattoo, or a fun riddle to figure out.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:01 PM   #5
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That's a great guide, Ironchef.

I don't know if you get Sara Lee products up there, Lady, but they have come out with a whole grain white bread, which is great for picky kids and husbands who don't like brown bread.

You can make peanut butter sandwiches with sliced apples, bananas, or honey in place of the jelly. My kids also liked cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise.
They'll eat the vegies better if you include a small container of Ranch Dip.
You also might try stuffing celery sticks with peanut butter or soft cheese.

Speaking of cheese, you can make your own cheese/pimento spread, by mixing grated cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and a jar of pimentoes, juice and all. It may be a little fattening, but it's better for them than lunchmeat.

They are growing children, after all.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:20 PM   #6
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I'm thinking ...half a cheese sammich and 4 Oreos would go over real good!
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:29 PM   #7
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Yes, it would!
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:58 PM   #8
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all excellent ideas. As a kid I always liked a thermous of soup especially in winter and stuff to put together my own sandwiches so they woudl not get soggy. Some soups were already mentioned but tomato is often a favorite, and I was crazy for clam chowder (any kind). So what does he/she like and adapt from all these suggestions.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:11 PM   #9
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Several years ago I was the chef at a private posh posh school, K-12. There were only about 300 students total, but a couple of them had peanut allergies. As a result, I couldn't cook with peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, or any other nut, for that matter. Some people even suggested that I never get burger buns with sesame seeds!

Personally, I thought my responsibilities were to all the students, not just two with allergies. I believed if the two were identified, it would be possible for me to include peanut, a healthy protein alternative, as a menu ingredient for the rest of the student body. I encouraged the students to see me regarding ingredients in something they may have desired to eat. The client didn't see it that way. In addition, it was strongly urged that children not bring PBJ sandwiches from home, either. That was crossing a line, as far as I was concerned.

My point.....make sure it's not on the blacklist before sending peanut butter to school with your kid.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:02 PM   #10
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I'm still trying to figure out my kid's school policy on snacks. What the school sent us in a letter is to send a "healthy snack like a small fruit, few crackers, or fruit snack" no cookies or chips and no peanut or peanut products. It also says not to send in any juice or drinks with the snack, they have a water fountain.

Verbally, we're hearing don't send in anything with sugar in the top two ingredients. Also, I've overheard a conversation between a teacher and a parent where the parent sent in a home made snack. The teacher wouldn't allow the child to eat it because it didn't have an ingredient label.

These rules are new this year in NJ, apparently state mandated. My kids like fruits and veggies for snacks but occasionally I like to treat them with some home made cookies in their lunch boxes. But now some pointy headed legislator is telling me I can't do that. It's a good ting the U.S. is a free country

People have been eating for thousands of years, how did we get to the point where we need government to tell us how to do it correctly

Michael
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:05 PM   #11
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Hi all! These are some fantastic ideas! Thank you! Thank you so much for all the helpful hints and tips! *blows kisses*
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:15 PM   #12
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A pre-schooler is happy with some peanut butter crackers (saltines) and half a banana. At least mine was. It's a great lunch. He also liked just a cheese sandwich. When mine got older I taught him to carefully open his sandwich - there was always something written in mustard in there! LOL It could be a heart, a smiley face, I love you.....the list goes on.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:45 PM   #13
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A pre-schooler is happy with some peanut butter crackers (saltines) and half a banana. At least mine was. It's a great lunch. He also liked just a cheese sandwich. When mine got older I taught him to carefully open his sandwich - there was always something written in mustard in there! LOL It could be a heart, a smiley face, I love you.....the list goes on.
That is the sweetest thing, Elf! I used to put little notes and would often cut the sandwiches out using a cookie cutter, but I never thought of the mustard thing. Kids love secret messages. I'll bet you were the favorite mom in the neighborhood!
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mystic View Post
I'm still trying to figure out my kid's school policy on snacks. What the school sent us in a letter is to send a "healthy snack like a small fruit, few crackers, or fruit snack" no cookies or chips and no peanut or peanut products. It also says not to send in any juice or drinks with the snack, they have a water fountain.

Verbally, we're hearing don't send in anything with sugar in the top two ingredients. Also, I've overheard a conversation between a teacher and a parent where the parent sent in a home made snack. The teacher wouldn't allow the child to eat it because it didn't have an ingredient label.

These rules are new this year in NJ, apparently state mandated. My kids like fruits and veggies for snacks but occasionally I like to treat them with some home made cookies in their lunch boxes. But now some pointy headed legislator is telling me I can't do that. It's a good ting the U.S. is a free country

People have been eating for thousands of years, how did we get to the point where we need government to tell us how to do it correctly

Michael

I'm not aware of any state mandated list of acceptable snacks a parent can send with a kid to school. It's not the school's responsibility to police what a kid eats. They can make suggestions, but they cannot enforce a 'no home-made snack' policy. I don't know how you feel about confrontations...but I'd confront that policy, if I were you. Begin by asking the teacher for written proof that it's against the law to send in a cookie. When that cannot be produced, go up the ladder. I'd object to that 'no peanut butter' policy, too. I realize the dangers of a peanut allergy...but I don't see why every child has to suffer because another child has an allergy.
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:39 AM   #15
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Years ago when our county was in the midst of a

hepatitis outbreak, our elementary school instituted a 'no homemade treat for the whole class' rule. We were able to send in homemade snacks or lunch items for our own child, just not the whole class. It didn't really bother me when I reminded myself that I really did not know how the other parents were when it came to washing hands and cooking. I knew myself but not them.
As for peanuts and items containing peanuts, children can't be expected to eat a peanut butter cookie and not have crumbs fall on the table or floor. They also will wipe their hands on their clothes or table or chair instead of a napkin, or may wipe the table top with the napkin that has some peanut butter from their sandwich on it. While I was lucky and did not have a child with a peanut allergy, I can completely understand why a parent with a child who has the allergy would not want to rely on children to keep their child alive. It is much easier to keep the whole environment free from the allergen than try to clean it away every day after snack time or lunch. It has become easier and safer for schools to just say no peanut products at all.
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Old 09-13-2007, 10:49 AM   #16
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People have been eating for thousands of years, how did we get to the point where we need government to tell us how to do it correctly

Michael
How? By increasing our overweight and obesity percentages over the last ten years to 65% of adults and 34% of children. By 2015, 75% of adults will be overweight; 41% will be obese. These adults are currently your children! SOMEONE has to tell somebody what to do to prevent this.

That said, when my son was a 3 year old and 4 year old preschooler, his typical lunch and midmorning snack, which he brought from home every day, consisted of:

SNACK: 1 Juice box, a sliced and cored apple, and a Hostess snack cake (single package).

LUNCH: 1 full sized sandwich, consisiting of two slices of some type of whole or multigrain bread, 2 or 3 slices of luncheon meat and a slice of cheese, tuna salad, or once in a great while peanut butter and jelly, all but the P, B, & J with lettuce and tomato. Some type of whole fruit (peach, plum, nectarine, apple, pear, etc.) or vegetables such as carrot sticks, celery sticks, and olives with ranch dressing dip. Another juice box. A sandwich bag full of chips (potato, tortilla, cheetos, etc.). a jello or pudding cup, or a container of yogurt. Another Hostess snack cake. He never shared, and he never brought anything back home uneaten. He is currently 25 years old, he's 5 ft 11 in, and weighs 165 pouinds, and he STILL eats like that. He kept going to Carl's Jr (Hardees) and ordering a DOUBLE 6 dollar burger, until they finally put it on the menu! Anyone wonder why I call him Plague of Locusts?
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:16 AM   #17
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Wow Caine, I envy your son. I have one like that too who is 6'2" and weighs 180. He's 27 and still eats everything in sight but he's also very active. He and his friends fence, play hackysack, bicycle and of course, help each other move pretty regularly.

I remember as a kid we all had lunches similar to what you gave your son. But we also left the house in the morning and went to school or played outside till dark. The moms all could be heard calling their kids at dusk to come home. So there really wasn't any idle snacking. I'm sure that has a lot to do with kids (and adults) being overweight.

Plus most of us have a little more disposable income and a fast food place close at hand. So having a "little something" requires very little effort. The availability and quality of dessert type foods was not what it is today in the grocery stores. Also the fact that most households require both parents to work, if there are 2 parents, so kids get their own snacks and even regular meals themselves. Kids aren't known for making great food choices.

I don't know, I just think there are many influences at play when we look at the issue of obesity in youth and I don't know how we will address them.
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:19 AM   #18
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I think we need to remember one thing here - this thread is about a pre-school aged child. There are some things you just don't give a child this age when they basically have to sometimes feed themselves. I'm sure that you, Lady DeWinters, will take all that into consideration. They have little hands and I seriously doubt can hold a sandwich together that is full of what an adult would have on their sandwich.

I'm sure you will come up with something wonderful as well as healthy. And like I was told, when it comes to their eating habits, look at the WEEK versus the DAY i.e., they are not going to eat perfect every day (and some days don't really eat much of anything); but, they WILL eat when they are hungry and they will eat, over the course of a week, a balanced diet.
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Wow Caine, I envy your son. I have one like that too who is 6'2" and weighs 180. He's 27 and still eats everything in sight but he's also very active. He and his friends fence, play hackysack, bicycle and of course, help each other move pretty regularly.

I remember as a kid we all had lunches similar to what you gave your son. But we also left the house in the morning and went to school or played outside till dark. The moms all could be heard calling their kids at dusk to come home. So there really wasn't any idle snacking. I'm sure that has a lot to do with kids (and adults) being overweight.

Plus most of us have a little more disposable income and a fast food place close at hand. So having a "little something" requires very little effort. The availability and quality of dessert type foods was not what it is today in the grocery stores. Also the fact that most households require both parents to work, if there are 2 parents, so kids get their own snacks and even regular meals themselves. Kids aren't known for making great food choices.

I don't know, I just think there are many influences at play when we look at the issue of obesity in youth and I don't know how we will address them.
In elementary school, we were given an hour to go home for lunch. I had a hot lunch every day, even if it was just a bowl of Campbell's soup. In junior and senior high school, I brought the same lunch every day for 7 bloody years! Monday through Thursday, 3 chopped ham sandwiches and a snack cake. Friday, 2 tuna sandwiches (tuna is more filling!) and a snack cake.

I remember the first McDonalds in my area. The dawn of fast food:
  • Hamburger - 15¢
  • Cheeseburger - 18¢
  • french fries - 12¢
  • sodas - 10¢
  • milk shakes - 25¢
That was their entire menu! No 1/4 pounders, no Big Macs, no chicken or fish, no choice of sizes for sodas or shakes.
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:34 AM   #20
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In elementary school, we were given an hour to go home for lunch. I had a hot lunch every day, even if it was just a bowl of Campbell's soup. In junior and senior high school, I brought the same lunch every day for 7 bloody years! Monday through Thursday, 3 chopped ham sandwiches and a snack cake. Friday, 2 tuna sandwiches (tuna is more filling!) and a snack cake.

I remember the first McDonalds in my area. The dawn of fast food:
  • Hamburger - 15¢
  • Cheeseburger - 18¢
  • french fries - 12¢
  • sodas - 10¢
  • milk shakes - 25¢
That was their entire menu! No 1/4 pounders, no Big Macs, no chicken or fish, no choice of sizes for sodas or shakes.
OMG, you're right about the fast food. I remember we went to the Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone once or twice a month. They were 10 cents! Oh man, I loved those. I had a PB&J or a tuna sandwich everyday for my school lunch, along with a piece of fruit and some sort of cookies. I was always sent with money for 2 cartons of milk, which I think were 10 cents each, too. I think this was because I was a really poor eater and extremely thin but I would always drink milk.
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