The war for healthy school lunchesParents who are serious about their children’s nutrition have many options.

“With childhood obesity on the rise and kids eating worse today than they did 20 years ago, it is so important for parents to take their children’s diets seriously,”Elizabeth Somer, registered nutritionist, dietitian and author of “Eat Your Way to Happiness.”

It’s difficult to pack a good lunch for your kids at 6 am, even if they are likely to choose to eat a piece of cafeteria pizza.

The war isn’t over, but don’t be discouraged. It is possible to get your children to eat healthy lunches, especially if they are familiar with fruits and vegetables. Somer suggests watermelon as a kitchen staple.

“Watermelon contains lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant, and it is the pigment that gives watermelon its red color,”Somer. “Watermelon is free of cholesterol, fat and sodium. You can’t get much better than that.”

The juicy fruit is often called a multivitamin. It has vitamins A, C, potassium (8%) and fibre (4%) Watermelon is great for keeping hydrated and can be used to make sure that kids who are picky about water don’t get dehydrated. Watermelon is mouth-wateringly delicious, and it’s easy to eat.

All those people who are going to be raving about how much watermelon’s natural sugar content, just wait a minute. Somer claims that this myth is mostly untrue and that watermelon has very few calories, despite having a high glycemic score.

“Watermelon just fills you up without filling you out,” Somer says. “The nice thing about watermelon is that it’s chin-dribbling juicy and so versatile. You can eat it straight from the melon, blend it into a beverage, make popsicles out of it, make sweet salsas, grill it, put it in sandwiches, etc.”

Watermelon is often misunderstood as a summer treat. However, it is available all year. Watermelon is also very portable when chopped up and placed in bagsgies or Tupperware.

This watermelon recipe is quick and easy, perfect for school lunches

Watermelon Kebabs

1 serving 1-inch cubes seedless watermelon

1 serving smoked Turkey Breast

1 serving low-fat/fat-free cheddar cheese

1 serving coffee stirrers, or straws

Cut watermelon, turkey, and cheese into cubes. Then, skewer the skewers on stirrers and straws.

Somer recommends watermelon smoothies and cupcakes. More watermelon recipes are available here