Q: When school starts, how can I help ensure my child eats right at lunchtime?

A: Young children often like things packaged or displayed in a cute way. Make lunchtime visually appealing: Include apple slices or pieces of watermelon and pineapple in small containers, or cut up carrots and celery and add some honey mustard dip as a way to introduce kids to vegetables.

Sandwiches fit little hands; slice them into fun shapes. Low-fat string cheese is fun to eat and a good source of calcium. You can even try including a smoothie with different kinds of fruit and yogurts in a small thermos.

For older kids, talk to them about healthy choices. Kids of all ages can benefit from meal pre-planning, whether it’s going grocery shopping as a family or learning how to cook a few recipes from scratch.

Resources for families:


Natasha Polensek, M.D.
Director, Doernbecher Healthy Lifestyles Clinic
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital