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Back-to-School Tips for a Healthy Lunch

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By Isabel Walson

Parents have a lot to worry about when sending their kids back to school. Lunch shouldn't be one. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) can help you avoid pesticides, food additives and contaminants in drinking water to make your student's lunch healthier and safer.


Check out these tips:

Food

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a growing child's diet. Parents can reduce their kid's exposure to pesticide residues by consulting the 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. Checking out our Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists will let you know which produce items you should always buy organic, and which produce items you can feel comfortable buying conventional.

For packaged snacks, search EWG's Food Scores database to find products that are both healthy and nutritious. Food Scores ranks more than 80,000 foods based on nutrition, ingredient safety and processing concerns.

When choosing meats, look to our interactive meat and dairy label decoder to avoid misleading labels and deceptive claims, and shop with confidence.

EWG's guide to Good Food on a Tight Budget will help you fill your plate with delicious, healthy food, while saving time and money. You'll find simple tips for eating well, quick lists of best foods, tasty recipes, easy tools for tracking food prices and a weekly menu and shopping list planner to help you stay on budget.

Water

Learn more about what's in your drinking water with EWG's Tap Water Database. If contaminants are a problem where you live, consider getting a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter. You can use EWG's Water Filter Guide to find and compare bottle options.

Food Containers

What you can't see can hurt you. Chemicals can leach out of food packaging and containers into your food. Replace plastic forks, spoons and straws with reusable utensils made of stainless steel or bamboo. Pack food in reusable, rather than disposable, containers. Choose lunch bags made of nontoxic materials like cotton, hemp, and wool or opt for an unpainted stainless steel lunch box.

Here's some advice for avoiding nitrates in hot dogs and harmful food additives. And some more helpful information on the top-rated sunscreens, the best bug repellents and school supplies laced with toxic chemicals.

Visit EWG's Children's Health Initiative for more tips on raising happy, healthy kids.

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