Easy, Healthy Back-to-School Lunches

Easy, Healthy Back-to-School Lunches
It’s time to get back in the groove and hustle that comes with the start of a new school year.

Between homework, extra-curricular activities and earlier bedtime routines, packing lunches can become a chore, but here are a few quick, easy and healthy ideas for lunches that even the pickiest eaters will love.

DIY Lunchables: Ok, I give credit to the genius who came up with Lunchables, a convenient solution for all lunch packers; however, the portions are not very filling, the ingredients are not the healthiest and they are not budget friendly, at about $2.50 a pack. But with the help of a Bento Box, you can pack your own lunchable-type meal, like these:

  • Build our Own Pizza: Pita bread or sandwich thin, tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, turkey pepperoni, with a whole fruit or applesauce, drink and a treat.
  • Cheese & Crackers: Deli meat and cheese (cut into squares or circles), whole grain crackers, with fruit, drink and treat.
  • DIY Tacos: Ground beef, shredded lettuce. cheese, salsa, 2 taco-size tortillas, a few tortilla chips, with a drink and treat.
Kid Kabobs: Even the fussiest eaters love these: using a cocktail straw (less pokey than a skewer and fit better in lunch boxes), alternate deli meat, cheese and fruit. Switch up ingredients depending on your child’s likes or what you have readily available. Sandwich kabobs are also a fun option to switch up the average sandwich lunch!

Breakfast for Lunch

  • Whole grain waffle, hard-boiled egg, berries and a drink.
  • Plain or flavored yogurt, granola and fruit for a yogurt parfait.
  • Cereal, cheese stick, fruit, yogurt and shelf stable white milk.
  • Hard boiled egg, muffin and cottage cheese. Add fruit and a drink!
Drink Ideas: Shelf-stable chocolate milks, juice pouch, mini bottled water. Make sure to check the label for added sugar.

Snack Ideas: The best snacks to keep your kids full include a protein and a carbohydrate source, such as: fruit and peanut butter; crackers and cheese; pretzels and a yogurt, etc.

Keep bacteria out! The final step to keeping bellies happy is to eliminate any risk for foodborne illness. Make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables, as well as keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Investing in an insulated lunch bag is key to keeping perishable food at the right temperature. For more tips, check out the USDA’s safe lunch recommendations.

To your healthy choices,

Beth Eggleston, RD, and Libby Friend, dietetic intern

 

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