Use Colors to Pack a Healthy Lunch

As kids head back to school, it is a great time to start a daily routine of packing healthy lunches. If you don’t have kids, these same tips can apply for packing healthy work lunches. In the morning rush, it’s tempting to grab a frozen, pre-packaged meal and snack, but those will not pack the nutritional punch to keep you or your kids alert, active, and productive throughout the day. It is possible to pack a healthy lunch that you and your kids will eat and enjoy! Using colors is an easy and fun way to make it happen.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation recently developed an education program called Pack Assorted Colors for Kids (PACK). PACK’s five-day program assigns a different color to each day to help kids try new fruits and vegetables. Whether they buy their lunch or bring it from home, kids are encouraged to include fruits and vegetables that match the color of the day in their lunch. Here are the days with ideas of what kids might bring in their lunch:

Monday: Purple/Blue Day – 100% grape juice, raisins, or blueberries
Tuesday: White/Tan/Brown Day – Bananas, white peaches, or cauliflower with dressing
Wednesday: Red Day – Strawberries, red pepper slices, tomato wedges, or a red apple
Thursday: Yellow/Orange Day – Baby carrots, dried apricots, or orange segments
Friday: Green Day – Celery sticks, broccoli, or a green apple

Make the program a fun family activity to encourage healthy eating. Have your kids wear colors that match the color of the day, and pack your own lunch with your kids’ lunches using the same colors. Test your taste buds by including fruits or vegetables that you don’t normally eat.

Of course the color of the day could be used at breakfast and dinner, too. On Monday, have something less common, like eggplant. Since it’s the color of the day, everyone tries it! You can also assign each family member a day to choose what is served at each meal to match their color of the day.

When kids are included in the decision making and all family members are involved, healthy eating can be an easy, and even fun, part of your daily routine.

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