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health tips - back to school lunch tips

Back To School Lunch Tips

The kids have been back to school for only a week, but you’re probably already tired of packing the usual lunch items. Here are some tips that can help you plan healthy and fun lunches your kids will look forward to eating.

  1. Plan ahead. It’s easy to revert back to the "usuals" or packaged foods if you’re rushed.

  2. Have the kids help you prepare their lunches. They are more likely to eat what they helped pack. Discuss new lunch items and be sure to add those to the grocery list.

  3. Test new food items at home first, not in the school lunch.

  4. Spend some time preparing lunch menu items. Wash fruits and vegetables, prepare snack mixes and dips, cut grapes into clusters etc. This will save time during the busy school week.

  5. If your student uses a lunch box, freeze juice boxes/pouches/water as they will help keep other lunch items cold and not ruin a paper bag.

  6. To keep apple slices from turning brown, keep a small spray bottle of lemon juice and water in the fridge and spray cut apples before packing.

  7. Use a large cookie cutter (star, heart, animals) to cut sandwiches into fun shapes. You can even use the cookie cutter to cut low fat bologna, ham or turkey.

  8. Make pinwheel sandwiches - spread your child’s favorite sandwich filling onto a tortilla. Roll it up and slice into smaller pieces. Try PB&J, lunch meat with low fat cream cheese.

  9. Send chunks of low fat cheese with whole grain crackers.

  10. Fill celery with low fat cream cheese or peanut butter and top with raisins (called bugs on a log!)

  11. Make a smiley face snack - spread peanut butter or cream cheese on a rice cake, using raisings or dried fruit to make a face, coconut flakes for hair.

  12. Send vanilla wafer cookies with their favorite yogurt to dip.

  13. Pack string cheese or rolled meat slices.

  14. Stuff mini-pita pockets with different sandwich fillings.

  15. Sprinkle cheese in a pita spread with pizza sauce.

  16. Toss leftover pasta with veggies and dressing.

  17. Serve salad in a bag with shredded cheese and dressing on the side.

  18. Smart snack ideas include: bagels and light cream cheese, soup and crackers, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit and peanut butter, raw veggies and low fat dip, yogurt (regular or frozen) pizza bagel, cheese and veggie pizza, graham crackers and milk, cottage cheese and fruit, chicken salad and crackers, nuts and raisins, pretzels, fruit shake and cereal with milk.

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