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What makes a healthy, fun school lunch? A dietitian weighs in

What makes a healthy, fun school lunch? A dietician weighs in
What makes a healthy, fun school lunch? A dietician weighs in 02:20

BALTIMORE -- How do we make sure kids are eating a healthy, balanced and affordable diet as they head back to school?

A local dietitian is sharing some tips as the first bell of the year is around the corner. 

School lunches aren't always easy. You want the food to be healthy, and your children want it to be fun.

Dietitians say what you pack is key to keeping students fueled and focused throughout the school day.

A delicious and nutritious lunch is the recipe for a successful day. 

"Kids should have fruits and vegetables and grains and protein and dairy," said Dr. Kerry Strom, a dietitian at MedStar Health. "It's very important, they can't focus if they're not getting their basic nutrients. So we have micronutrients, vitamins and minerals in our diet. We have our macronutrients - protein, calcium, fat."

So, when you're packing your child's lunch, keep two things in mind: variety and presentation.

Experts say it's also important to include your child in preparing lunch.

"She'll ask for her - make her own style Lunchables," one mother said. "So I'll cut cheese up into squares, sometimes we do it a little turkey, pepperoni, crackers."

And for families on a budget, Dr. Strom recommends staying away from pre-packaged foods. Instead, try to make it yourself at home.

Also, not everything has to be organic.

"I'm not going to spend my money on organic bananas or organic oranges, because I'm just taking off that peel."

Avoid processed foods, and watch for high sodium content and added sugars.

"There are lots of flavored waters," Dr.Strom said. "Those have zero calories and zero sugar, and they are cheaper than sodas and juices."

Preserving your child's food and keeping it cool is also just as important to avoid any food-borne illness.

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