As you can probably guess by my last blog, I do not allow my child who has acid reflux to eat the school lunch. Partially because it is tantamount to feeding her fast food and partially because it is full of acid reflux triggers. That may lead you to wonder what in the world I am able to send her with instead. A lot of quick and easy lunches aren’t exactly healthy and even some healthy foods can trigger acid reflux.
Here are a few of my daughter’s favorite “main dishes” for lunch:
Organic Greek Yogurt with a whole grain/high fiber cereal as a topping (Kashi Go Lean makes some high fiber and high protein versions).
Spinach and Turkey wrap (Turkey and cheese in a Spinach or whole wheat tortilla). These can be rolled and cut to look like sushi or like a burrito.
SunButter and apple slices (SunButter is a alternative to peanut butter that is made with sunflower seeds).
Cucumber boat stuffed with tuna or chicken salad. (Hollow out a cucumber and add the salad but go easy on mayo because it can add fat and calories rapidly).
I always include water to drink and some vegetables or fruit cut into bite sized pieces. Think outside the box with other vegetables like snow peas or sugar snap peas instead of constantly sending baby carrots. My kids love to eat raw vegetables but if yours don’t you can send a healthy dip like hummus to school with them to encourage them to eat their veggies. Other things my kids love to get are blueberries, grapes, strawberries, kiwi or other seasonal fruits. Some of the applesauces made from other fruits can be fun to send too.
If your child is especially sensitive to certain foods be sure to remind them not to exchange their lunch for someone else’s. It can derail your efforts if your child just switches their trigger free lunch for one that could cause the burn to come back. Class parties or snacks given during class also need to be checked out before hand. It surprised me how easily things were snuck into the day that could have potentially caused tummy troubles.
With a little preparation your child should be able to negotiate school lunch pain free
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.