At Smart Lunches, we believe that having a healthy, nutritionally balanced lunch is good for one’s well-being and performance during the day. Our goal is to bring simplicity, convenience and confidence to your lunchtime decisions by providing fresh, delicious, approchable meals that you and your children will love.
We provide a variety of offerings to please many different palates, while maintaining a balanced and healthy nutritional foundation. Our nutritional guidance is based on the USDA Guidelines effective October 1, 2017. Want to know more? Here's what we think.
Understanding and recognizing proper serving sizes is key to healthy eating. Our portions are designed to provide approximately 1/3 of the daily energy requirements for our lunchers. We realize that everyone is unique, and that there are athletes and growing teenage boys in our midst -- so we offer multiple sizes daily with fruits and healthy snacks that can be ordered a la carte.
You can never eat too many fruits and veggies! Research overwhelmingly shows the importance of phytonutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables. They protect our brains, eyes, skin, and DNA as well as promote cellular repair. We sneak them in our recipes everywhere we can and make sure all of the sides of the day are fresh fruits and vegetables
All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are sources of protein. At Smart Lunches, we strive to have protein provided not only from lean meats, but also from other sources such as a variety of beans and tofu. (However, all our menus are free of both peanuts and tree nuts. See our FAQ section for more details.)
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Examples are bread, pasta, oatmeal, and tortillas. Whole grains contain the most nutritional value because they use the entire grain kernel: the bran, germ, and endosperm. We try to find the best balance between using whole grain ingredients and kids’ food preferences.
A decade ago fat was seen as the root of food evil. But with further research it has been determined that some fats are actually “good” fats. Especially for children, these “good” fats are essential for healthy bodies and minds because they help absorb the fat-based vitamins A, D, E, and K. At Smart Lunches, our ingredients are mostly the good fats - polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
The dairy group is comprised of foods made from milk. When feeding growing children, the use of low-fat or non-fat milk is an individual decision. For those that may need to cut back on calorie intake; limiting fat from dairy products is a good solution. At Smart Lunches, the milk we offer is low-fat, but some of the cheese used in our recipes is made from full-fat milk. This is balanced with the total offering and caloric content.
Sugar is the food villain of today. When fat was the villain and removed from products, manufacturers needed to enhance taste -- so they turned to high-fructose corn syrup, which was a cheap alternative to sugar. With that move the market went sweet. Sugar isn't evil -- it's the quantity of sugar we want to manage. At Smart Lunches, we focus on maintaining a low-sugar profile in the menus and recipes we create. When we do offer a sweet treat, we make sure it comes in nutrient-dense foods.
It would be wonderful if we could enjoy organic food, supplied locally, at a reasonable cost every day. But for many of us for various reasons, this option is out of reach. Therefore, at Smart Lunches, we use the EWG (Environmental Working Group) list of the “dirty dozen,” seasonality and price competitiveness to guide us with our decisions around organic and local ingredients.