Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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PACK It Up, PACK It In

Join the public health initiative P.A.C.K. for making healhy and simple kids' lunches.

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P.A.C.K.The end of another summer means new teachers, new school supplies, dreaded homework, and, of course, school snacks and lunches! This year, you can keep it simple and healthy by joining the public health initiative P.A.C.K. (Pack Assorted Colors for Kids), a national healthy eating initiative aimed at encouraging children to eat more colorful fruits and vegetables. By packing fresh, wholesome foods in your child’s lunch box and getting them involved in the selection process, you will be teaching your children that nutritious foods taste great!

So how does it work?

P.A.C.K. is a simple five-day program that promotes eating more fruits and vegetables as well as a variety of color. Each day of the week is assigned a different color to help children focus on nutritious foods!

Monday: Pack Purple Day (grapes, blackberries, plums, raisins)
Tuesday: Pack White Day (mushrooms, cauliflower, potatoes)
Wednesday: Pack Red Day (watermelon, cherries, strawberries, apples)
Thursday: Pack Yellow/Orange Day (bananas, oranges, peaches, mango)
Friday: Pack Green Day (broccoli, asparagus, celery, avocado)

Schools across the country that have participated in this nutrition-based program have shown that hundreds of thousands of elementary school children packed more fruits and vegetables in their diets and you can, too.

Pressed for time?

Not to worry! Here are a few simple ideas for your children’s lunches to make sure they are eating more color and getting more nutrition with every bite! Make sure to aim for packing whole grains for energy, protein for fullness, fruits and vegetables for vitamins and fiber, and low-fat dairy for bone-building minerals!

Lunch #1:

Tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat bread

  • 10 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons of low-fat ranch
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 small gingersnap cookies

Lunch #2:

Peanut Butter and grape jelly on whole wheat bagel thin

  • ¾ cup cucumbers with 2 tablespoons hummus
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks
  • 2 fig cookies

Lunch #3:

Mini whole wheat pita pockets with grilled chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes

  • ¾ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt with ¼ cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup broccoli/cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons light raspberry vinaigrette
  • 6 animal crackers
  • 1

Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition , Quick and Healthy , Recipes

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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