Packing a Healthy Lunch

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Packing the kids lunches for school allows you to know which nutritious foods they are eating. Here are some budget-friendly, creative ideas to keep kids happy and healthy at lunchtime:

Make a smarter sandwich

While some kids prefer the same thing every day, others may like a slight switch to their sandwich.

  • Use different breads like whole wheat tortilla wraps or whole wheat pita pockets.
  • In addition to lettuce and tomato, try shredded carrot or zucchini and sliced apple or pear with a turkey sandwich.
  • Try avocado or hummus as a swap for cheese or mayo.
  • Try leftover grilled chicken in your sandwich as a switch for lunchmeat.

Love those leftovers

Think about using leftovers from a family dinner for a lunch the next day. Use a thermos to keep foods hot or cold until the lunch bell rings. Some ideas:

  • Soup
  • Chili
  • Spaghetti
  • Beans & rice

Let them dunk

Sometimes it’s OK to let your kids play with their food, especially when they are getting extra nutrition. Try packing one of these fun dunks with dippers:

  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt or peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  • Whole grain crackers or slices of grilled tofu to dunk into soup.

Get them involved

When kids help pack their lunch, they’re more likely to eat that lunch! On nights you have a bit more time , like a Sunday night, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of whole grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine – it’s another great way to spend family time together.

 

(source: American Heart Association)