LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One of the toughest school year assignments is packing healthy lunches your children will eat. Nutritionists at the University of Louisville's Healthy for Life program say parents often complain that eating health is expensive, but it doesn't have to be when you know how to shop smart.
Dr. Brooke Sweeney, the medical director of Healthy for Life, said she thinks in portions when putting lunches together.
"A fruit and/or vegetable, a grain and a protein," said Dr. Sweeney.
But Dr. Sweeney adds that parents should keep in mind that protein doesn't always have to be a meat, it can be legumes, nut butters for example. Meat proteins can drive up food budgets fast and they're items that will often need to be tossed within a week if not eaten.
Megan Lafollette, another Nutritionist at the Healthy for Life program, said buying fruit in general can be confusing because it's sold by the pound. But when you break it down you'll find most whole fruits cost between 20 and 40 cents.
Another way to save is to know portion sizes. Consider pairing up some pricier, trendy veggies like sugar snap peas and sweet peppers with more affordable options to get kids to eat more veggies.
Stay away from empty calories, like Pop Tarts and bags of Cheetos. Instead reach for low fat pudding cups, yogurts and granola bars. You'll save on both budget and nutrition with those choices.
Lunch Combination Examples:
Note: Appropriate portion sizes vary based on age, gender, height, weight, and activity level. Amounts shown are healthy guidelines for the general population. For more information on portion sizes, please visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
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