My child is away at college and I want to send him a care package. Any ideas?
Great idea! Care packages deliver a piece of home plus the knowledge that someone out there loves you. As you pack your box, think: what could my child be missing at college? College students have ready access to junk foods such as soft drinks, candy bars and chips - foods that contribute few nutrients but lots of calories. So focus on health, plus pleasure, and keep food safety in mind.
Avoid sending perishable foods; these include foods that are rich in protein and moisture and require refrigeration. Dried fruits and nuts travel well, and they won't spoil in transit. Or how about a favorite batch of homemade cookies, with a note reminding your student to wash them down with low-fat milk? Most students welcome late night study snacks - they might as well be delivering some much needed nutrients.
Keep physical fitness and mental health in mind too. Toss in a frisbee, jump rope or other fitness toy, a book of jokes, or a framed family photo - all are sure to bring a smile to a far-away student's face. And that's really what the care package is all about.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.,
Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri
Last update: Monday, February 09, 2009