Nutrition Expert Offers Advice

University of Florida’s Kara Shelnutt provides parents with tips for healthy eating to excite kids

Use these tips from nutrition expert Kara Shelnutt to pack a healthy school lunch that your kids will love.

As soon as August rolls around, back-to-school reminders are everywhere you look. Still, as television ads and department stores are there to help you buy the latest backpack or the perfect first-day-of-school-outfit, what about the lunchbox? Filling it with something that’s kid-friendly and healthy can be a challenge, which is why University of Florida nutrition expert Kara Shelnutt has created a list of tips for parents.

As a registered dietician, Shelnutt works as an assistant professor and extension nutrition specialist. She received her BS and PhD in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida.

Shelnutt’s recommendations to get children to eat healthy at school include the following:

Spruce up the everyday sandwich. An easy way to do this is to cut out the sandwich with a fun cookie cutter shape. Williams-Sonoma offers everything from safari animals to Star Wars characters.

Switch all grains to whole — but don’t feel like bread is the only option. Whole wheat varieties are available for bagels, pita pockets, and tortillas, as well, just to name a few.

Join the dark side, when it comes to lettuce. A deeper-colored leaf means more nutritional value.


Get your kid involved. When children are involved in selecting ingredients at the supermarket, they’re more likely to eat and enjoy what’s in their brown bag at lunch. Create a customized trail mix by touring through the nut and dried fruit aisle, or switch it up from the usual apple by picking out a new fruits to try from the produce aisle.