Health Hub: 4 Lunchbox Treats – For Kids and Adults

Try this “throwback” lunch for healthy nostalgia 

By Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

From NFL football uniforms to children’s toys, “throwbacks” are in these days. Why not try a food throwback?

If we could go back in time, we probably would not use lard as our grandparents did or dump cuploads of sugar into water for a refreshing drink. But we would find healthy options in our old lunchboxes. Try this throwback lunch I ate when I was in grade school: peanut butter on whole grain crackers, string cheese and an apple. It can still stand up to the most nutritious foods today!

Peanut butter power 

Peanut butter can help control your hunger by adding a boost of protein and reduce your LDL cholesterol. On top of that, a new study found that piceatannol — a compound similar to resveratrol that is found in peanuts, grapes and red wine — can prevent immature fat cells from progressing to mature fat cells. Stick to 100 percent peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts, not the versions with sugar — or jelly — added.

100% whole grain crackers for digestion 

Skip the white bread. Spreading peanut butter on crackers prolongs the meal and makes it more fun for kids. It’s easy to find great tasting whole grain crackers these days — almost as easy as it is to reap the benefits of eating whole grains. They contain much more fiber than their refined counterparts, and fiber has recently been found to help with overall digestive health.

String cheese for a dose of dairy 

This snack staple may be as healthy as it is tasty. A 2011 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating more dairy and protein during weight-loss efforts promoted gaining lean mass and losing fat mass. And a 2005 study in the journal Obesity Research found that consumption of three dairy servings per day was associated with reduced belly fat in African- American women.

Apple a day — a cliché that’s true 

The old “apple a day” saying might have some scientific backing. A 2003 study in the journal Nutrition found that women who consumed either three apples or three pears a day were more likely to lose weight and have better blood sugar control. As a bonus, many studies have linked apple consumption to a longer lifespan, as well as reductions in the risk of breast cancer and stroke.


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