Dietitian explains how to pack a healthy school lunch

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Back to school means back to bag lunches for many students. Here's how parents can make sure their children are eating enough and eating well while at school, according to clinical dietitian Tara Taylor from CHI St. Joseph Health.

An app used by several area school districts provides parents with information about cafeteria menus including nutritional values and calorie counts. (Photo by Christy Soto)

'Entree' options:
- Food safety is important. Understand whether your child's food will remain cold before you make decisions about perishable foods.
- Lunchmeat isn't perfect, but it isn't bad. Pack a sandwich. Be careful about Lunchables and other products full of sodium.
- Peanut butter is a great option, but check your school's allergy policy.
- String cheese is an easy source of protein, as is hummus if your child will eat it.
- Yogurt can be great, but be careful of the added sugars. Try unsweetened options.

What to pack to drink:
- Water is the best.
- If you are packing juice, make sure it's 100% fruit juice.
- Milk, skim or 1%, is great if you can keep it cold.

Should you pack a dessert?
- Everything in moderation. Your child doesn't need a lunch dessert every day.
- If you want to pack something sweet, try fruit and yogurt or apples and caramel.

Taylor also recommends following the guidelines from the federal government. See the Related Links.