Keeping kids on a modified low carb diet throughout the school year is difficult. However, it is always easier to start something new when you have a new structure, that new structure being the school day versus a home day with a new teacher versus a caregiver, a new lunch routine, etc. So this is the time to start with your kids!
If you are going to do this, I urge you to explain how they can't eat a lot of bad carbs and eat the stuff on a low-carb diet. It won't help them if they do that. (Of course, there are certain times when everyone has to indulge, including kids.)
If this is going to work, you have to put in a lot of effort -- that means making the kids' lunches everyday. Why? Because the schools are forced to work off of the outdated food pyramid. Private schools are exempt, and kids will get better nutritional information at a private school than at a public school -- especially high-priced private schools that want their kids to excel. Public school kids are still taught that all fat is bad. High glycemic, low fiber carbohydrate-filled snacks like pretzels or goldfish are the best. (Post coming on this.... and feel free to send me your school's "approved" snack list so we can "fisk" it.)
I am going to give some examples of snacks that kids can bring to school, and then I'm going to give examples of lunches. (Disclaimer here, I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist (thank goodness, because the blind repitition of the "status quo" of nutrition that gets quoted in the paper and on the radio by this type makes me believe that they never read new studies or if they do, they are waiting for the big assocations to give them the thumbs up before they move off of the straight and narrow line.)) This is what I do for my own kids.
Cheese sticks or slices of cheese
Yoplait Ultra Yogurt or other low carb yogurt
Musselman's Apple Sauce sweetened with Splenda (long story why this one is one the list -- for a picky eater!)
Trader Joe's Soy Tortilla Chips, or Doritos Edge or Cheetos Edge, or Tastemorr Carb Measure Snack Thins, Girlfriend's Booty (barbecue), or Hain's Carbfit Twirls, etc.
Nuts (I prefer the salted Planter's Peanuts in individual packets for the kids)
Celery with Cream Cheese
Smart Food (full fat version)
Jerky (with no nitrates or sugar, if you can find it)
Post Carb Well Cereal Bars or Q-Smart
Chopped up cucumbers in a tupperware container with Ken's Salad Dressing (Italian or Ranch) or just 1/2 of a cucumber plain
Cauliflower or peppers with salad dressing or plain (or other veggie that your kids will eat)
Strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries
Grapes (actually, for kids, any fresh fruit (although berries are best if they are in season and the kids like them.) Bananas sparingly, not every day.)
The NO List
No mandarin oranges or fruit in syrup.
And no dried fruit! It is full of sugar! Fresh fruit is MUCH better!
No juice boxes, again, just sugar! Remember, fresh fruit is much better. Put water in the lunch. (Why does everything have to be sweet!) Or if you have to, use a lower carb juice, like Tropicana Light'n Healthy.
Sandwiches (main course) combine with snacks above for a meal
If I say a sandwich, then it should be on low carb bread. This can be bread, pita bread, or a low carb tortilla to make a wrap. There are too many brands of low carb bread out there for me to comment on. Around me, the number one low carb pita brand is Joseph's, and Joseph's also makes a low carb tortilla, but you can order low carb tortillas online as well.
You can make the following sandwiches:
Peanut Butter (Simply Jif or Carb Options) and Jelly (Keto or No Sugar Jelly like Polaner All Fruit, sweetened with Splenda.)
Any meat or fish with cheese and/or mayo or mustard (if you use cold cuts, preferably no nitrates, but this is just about impossible unless you have a Trader Joe's nearby) and/or lettuce or coleslaw (coleslaw must be homemade with Splenda, full fat mayo, and mustard) or any full fat no sugar dressing for different favors.
Salads with Caesar dressing like Cardini's and cheese and/or meat on top. (No croutons!)
Progresso has some great low carb soups, Carb Monitor, with lots of new flavors including Chicken Vegetable, Beef Vegetable, Tuscan-Style Meatball, Chicken Cheese Enchilada Style and Roasted Turkey Vegetable. Of course, if you have time, you can make your own low carb soups as well! (Or use leftovers)
Any Leftovers That Can Be Eaten Cold:
Like a frittatta, if your kids' palettes' are adventurous!
Meatloaf makes great sandwiches too...
For a treat:
I have to be very careful with these. The kids want them, but the key is to just give one low carb cookie or one SMALL low carb chocolate -- either a piece of a bar or a bitesize chocolate. Remember, kids shouldn't have more than 300 calories of non-natural low carb foods, and in the kids' case, that means anything with sugar alcohols in it. (So, if you gave them a Post Carb Well bar, that is 140 calories, you only have 160 calories left for the day, that is why I tell my kids that the Post Carb Well bar is a dessert.)
So... I might give a square of a Trader Joe's chocolate bar, one small Oreo-like Carborite cookie (now sold in three packs at Wal-Mart, but I would just give one cookie out of the three-pack), or a Jello sugar free jello. If you can get away with having no dessert in the lunch box and only giving one small dessert after dinner, you are in better shape.
The list here is a long one, because new products are coming out every day. (It is SO much easier to write this post than it was last year.) If you would like me to add more specific examples, please comment on this post to let me know.