Makeover your child's lunchbox

It takes a child 20 times of tasting a food before they decide if they like it or not. Do not give up! Continue to serve your child healthy, balanced meals and over time they will likely eat what you provide. A parent has to stay consistent with their message. If nutrition is important to them then the lunchbox must reflect this.

In order for the meal to be balanced there must be a protein, whole grain, fruit, vegetable and healthy fats present. Continue to serve balanced meals and let the child decide how much or whether they are going to eat.

Jae Berman's advice on what your child's lunchbox should contain, one from each group:

Entrees: (protein/whole grain and healthy fats)

  • Kidney Bean and Garbanzo bean salad
  • Lentil salad
  • Beans and Rice with tortilla and guacamole on the side
  • Leftover protein mixed with goat cheese and bell pepper and lettuce in a whole wheat pita
  • Tuna salad with apply slices and whole wheat crackers
  • Turkey and cheese rolls
  • Whole wheat pasta with olives, feta, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and leftover protein
  • Peanut/almond/soy butter and 100% fruit spread on whole grain bread
  • Quinoa and edamame salad

    Healthy Fats mixed with fruit or veggie:

  • Homemade trail mix of mixed nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus with whole grain crackers
  • Fruit and yogurt
  • Fruit and cottage cheese
  • Ants on a log-celery, peanut butter and raisins


  • Tomatoes, Snap peas, broccoli bites with balsamic dressing dip
  • Carrots and celery stick
  • Cucumber and bell peppers with ranch dressing
  • Green beans with soy sauce
  • Homemade slaw-green and red cabbage cut and mixed with a vinaigrette dressing


  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Apple or pear wedges
  • Peeled orange or grapefruit
  • Plum, Peach or nectarine


  • Milk
  • Sweetened soy milk
  • Yogurt

    Products featured in this segment:

    Lunchbox 1:

  • PB&J sandwich
  • Edamame
  • Snap peas and carrots with a balsamic dressing
  • Yogurt (flavored)
  • Raspberries/Blackberries

    Lunchbox 2:

  • Lentil salad with cheese on top
  • Apple
  • Tomatoes and cucumbers with ranch dressing
  • Soy dogs with ketchup and mustard

    Lunchbox 3:

  • Turkey and cheese rolls
  • Orzo salad
  • Trail mix
  • Banana
  • Milk

    Lunchbox 4:

  • Kidney and Garbanzo bean salad
  • Ants on a log
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Attune Bar

    About Jae Berman:
    As Western Athletic Club's Regional Registered Dietitian for San Francisco and Marin, Jae Berman, MS, RD motivates and empowers clients to achieve break-throughs in personal health, fitness, wellness and life-balance-on their own terms. Her goal is to create programs that allow her clients to have a positive relationship with food, and therefore a positive relationship with their bodies. Jae is also a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor, and carefully integrates her understanding of these disciplines into customized fitness programs for clients. Her specialties include nutrition for weight loss, wellness, sports nutrition, cardiovascular nutrition, digestive disorders, eating disorders and blood glucose control.

    Jae holds a master's degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University, and completed her dietetic internship at UCSF Medical Center. She is credentialed through the American Dietetic Association and is an ACSM Health Fitness Specialist.

    You can contact Jae at 415-901-9332 or email her at


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