Healthy Eating From Farm to Lunchbox

By Abigail Sykes, MS, RDN, and Hannah mom

Fall in New England is an exciting time full of lots of local, fresh produce. Apples, pumpkin, winter squash, cranberries, brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and kale are just a few of the things available right now.

Although many of the seasonal farmer’s markets are ending for the year, there are still several places to buy local food, including local farms and fall/winter farmers markets. Other sites, such as Farmers to You, allow you to purchase local food throughout the year. The MassGrown and Fresher! website has lots of information on local farms, farmers markets, seasonal crops, and agricultural activities.

So how do you pack a lunch that is fun, easy, and will help your child get the energy they need throughout the day? As a general guide when packing lunches, aim for at least 3 of the 5 food groups (fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy) to help ensure you have a balanced meal. Eating a protein and/or fat with a carbohydrate, such as cheese stick and crackers or carrots and hummus, helps your child stay full and energized longer.

For more lunch ideas, check out Registered Dietitian Jill Castle’s Love your Lunchbox.

In Spring 2018, Hannah Elementary piloted a hands-on nutrition and health education program called Hooray for Health for 1st and 4th graders. This year, thanks to funding from the Beverly Education Grant Foundation and the Hannah PTO, we will expand the program to the entire school.

During this fun, interactive program students explore new foods, learn about body systems, and understand the connection between healthy foods and healthy bodies. Be on the lookout for special Hooray for Health related events for students, parents/caregivers, and families at different times throughout the year.