Healthy school lunches kids will eat

PHILADELPHIA, PA.; August 30, 2011

Liza Dioso of Northeast Philadelphia doesn't worry about her 5-year-old daughter Jade when it comes to eating.

"She has a really good appetite actually," says a smiling Liza.

But she does try to make sure she eats healthy, especially this year, as Jade heads off to kindergarten.

Dietitian Lisa Jones tells parents if you are packing lunch.

Make sure to pack ALL the food groups: protein, fruits & vegetables, and carbohydrates.

Protein is one typically missed, but it's essential for growth. Think of things like -

"Lean chicken, turkey, fish those kids of things, an egg is good, peanut butter and cheese sticks work well for kids," says Jones.

And if you are filling up a plate, half should be vegetables, with protein taking about 1/4 and carbohydrates taking the final 1/4. As for carbohydrates, Lisa recommends fruit and whole grains, such as a mini-bagel.

And to get kids to eat healthy, parents have to go first, to be a good role model.

"If they see their parents eating fruits and vegetables as snacks the child is going to want to do the same thing," notes Jones.

Liza says it seems to work at her home. We asked Jade her favorite snacks.

"Grapes and crackers with cheese," said Jade, her eyes lighting up.

Also Lisa reminds parents to pay attention to serving size. You don't want to over-feed kids.

And she says if you have a picky eater, try introducing new foods with dinner. If they don't like it once, re-introduce it a few more times WITH foods they do like.

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