Reporter: Danner Evans l Videographer: Dan Heffner
Lynchburg, VA - If your family is in a rut when it comes to school lunches for the kids -- we're going beyond the sandwich and chips and getting healthy alternatives your kids will love in this week's Mommy Monday.
You aren't there to watch over what they eat, but you can steer your children in the right direction when it comes to healthy food in the lunch room. No one knows that better than Leslie Hoglund.
"Packing lunches is extremely important," Hoglund said.
She's not only the health educator at the Lynchburg Health Department, she's also a mother of four.
Hoglund said putting some time and effort into packing lunches really pays off.
"Primarily with elementary age kids this is the prime time to teach them about nutrition and what is healthy to eat," Hoglund said. "They are starting to form their own thoughts about food. It's important to teach them food is nourishment."
She uses the government's MyPlate as a guide.
"You'll notice on the plate, half is fruits and vegetables. It's really cool because most are fruits and veggies are very kid friendly," Hoglund explained.
She suggested things like pepper slices, fresh green beans, berries, apple slices and oranges.
"So when they open them up and see reds, yellows, blues and greens, it's fun! It's lively. So they are more apt to eat it."
If convenience is a factor -- there are some choices there too.
"Easy things like boxed raisins, or prepared apple sauce."
You can't forget the protein. It's really important.
"It really helps your brain develop and your muscles function," Hoglund said. "You can skip the sandwich. Just throw in your yogurt and a cheese stick so there are good protein sources in addition to your colorful fruits and vegetables and it ends up being a fun lunch."
Hoglund also takes her kids to the grocery store. They read labels and shop together. She said that makes them more vested in eating healthy.
There are a lot of healthy food ideas for you on the government's MyPlate website.