The Organic Lunchbox I recommend that children get a variety of healthy foods. Together, the foods below would make an ideal lunch, loaded with body-building vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other important nutrients (perhaps some that haven't even been discovered yet). I'm asking parents to include at least one of these items every day. Even adding one of these a day could make a big difference for our children and our environment: A Serving of Organic Fruit: This might be an organic apple, organic grapes, or a bag of organic cherries from the local farmers' market. Thankfully, organic produce is available at more and more grocery stores as well. And the more that people ask for organic produce, the more available it will be. There are so many types of delicious fruit! My kids love kiwi bowls. Take a kiwi, cut it in half, and scoop out the yummy treasure using the thick skin as a bowl. A Serving of Organic Veggies: This might be a bag of small carrots from Earthbound Farms. Some kids like veggies (and even fruit) better if they are sent with a dip. A variety of dressings or yogurts can make tasty dips. Ants on a log are a perennial favorite (raisins on a peanut butter - or cream cheese - filled celery stick). My kids sometimes enjoy fresh sugar snap peas to munch, or English peas to shell and pop into the mouth - we get them both at the farmers' market. Or you might get veggies in as a snack food, such as Just Veggies, or in a drink (such as carrot orange or carrot berry juice). A Serving of Organic Whole Grains: The easiest way to get this in is as bread, a cereal, or a cracker. I like breads from Rudi's Organic Bakery. The French Meadow Bakery also makes some delicious organic bread. A simple sandwich can be a convenient centerpiece to a great lunch. Keep in mind, though, that not all lunches need a centerpiece. A hunk of bread along with the other items in the lunchbox can make a perfect lunch without a 'main dish'. An Organic Calcium Source: Two out of three kids in the U.S. do not get enough calcium in their diets! School-age children need at least 800 mg daily through age 8, and 1300 mg daily from age 9 to 13. A glass of milk has about 300 mg; a serving of yogurt about 400 mg; a slice of cheese might have about 200 mg. Those who don't get calcium at lunch are unlikely to meet their daily needs. Lunch might include a serving of Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt - in a cup, as a fun Squeezer, or as an organic drinkable yogurt. Organic cheese is another good option. For kids who don't do dairy, there are many other calcium options, including green vegetables, or even calcium enriched juices. An Organic Source of Lean Protein: You may have already provided your child with protein by giving them yogurt or a simple sandwich with Organic cheese. If there is not another protein source in the lunchbox yet, consider a hardboiled egg (perhaps an organic egg high in DHA), organic beans, or a sandwich with lean organic meats. They DON'T Need: Added sugars (especially high fructose corn syrups), added fats (especially partially hydrogenated fats), lots of artificial colors and other chemicals, or foods grown with pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.
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