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School Lunch Burnout

By Dr. Melissa McCool
From Reno Moms Blog

Now that we are finally getting into the groove of the school year, one area starts to fizzle out… the school lunch.

It’s difficult to keep the creativity up all year long, but I thought I would provide a few little tips and ideas that might spark some new menu options for your kiddos.

If you have ever heard the tip of sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store when shopping, that is very sound advice. All of the fresh, perishables are near the edges where there is refrigeration, but the center of the store should be a no fly zone, as it is mostly processed and packaged convenience foods. I know the word convenient sounds enticing, but nine times out of ten, those quick and easy snacks are high in carbs or sugars, or hold very little nutritional value.

Are your kids tired of the go-to sandwich? One fast flip is making it a wrap… they are essentially the same ingredients rolled into a whole wheat or spinach tortilla, and my son goes wild! They are easy and quick to eat, as well as fun. Bento boxes are always exciting and it saves you having to come up with a main course. Fill the compartments with fresh fruit, veggies, nuts or peanut/almond butter (if allowed at your child’s school) and a whole grain option. Chicken and broccoli bowls are tasty and can be devoured without heating them up. Easiest of all… leftovers! Pastas can be a delicious cold lunch alternative as well. The idea is to mix it up and keep a variety, so they don’t get tired of the same old meals.

Diet recommendations that I provide my patients are no different than what I pack for lunch.

Drinks: plain water, plain milk/soy milk/almond milk. NEVER: juice, chocolate/strawberry milk, sodas, or sweetened/flavored beverages

Food: fresh veggies, fresh fruit, string cheese, proteins, whole grains, nuts (again, only if allowed or no allergies), yogurt (go with plain or read labels, some have tons of sugar added).  AVOID: cookies, candy, crackers and chips.

It’s always fun to think slipping a sugary snack in their lunch box with bring a smile to their face, but more so will a sweet note that tells them how much you love them or what makes them special to you! Good luck and healthy eating.

About the Smile Shop
The Smile Shop is a locally owned pediatric dentistry practice established in 1980 with three office locations in Reno and Sparks. Dr. Michael Stoker, DDS, established The Smile Shop. In 1990, he was joined by Dr. Richard Adams, DMD. Today, Dr. Nicole Stoker, Dr. Melissa McCool, Dr. Whitney Garol and Dr. Katie Foster lead The Smile Shop team. All doctors at The Smile Shop are pediatric dentists.

The Smile Shop specializes in comprehensive, pediatric dental care including preventative oral hygiene, restorative dentistry and emergency treatments. The dentists and staff members deliver a personalized approach specific to a child’s needs from the infant stages through the teen years.

For more information on The Smile Shop visit or call 775-825-1000.

Dr. Melissa McCool is a proud mom of a 7-year-old, and a pediatric dentist at The Smile Shop.