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Thinking Outside of the Lunchbox:
Packing School Lunches That Will Inspire Your Kids

Mom takes daughter to the school bus
Photo © Corbis

Packing school lunches is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that children get healthy food into their bodies while at school. But sometimes we get into a rut of packing the same foods day after day. This can get pretty dull for parents — and kids. 

We all know about the time-tested PB & J, and the classic turkey and mayo on wheat.  But here are a few other creative ideas that might bounce you and your kids out of the lunch rut: 

  • Turkey, ham or salami, Swiss cheese and lettuce on whole wheat bread
  • Turkey or ham, red bell pepper strips and Cheddar cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with mayonnaise, spicy mustard or salsa
  • Tuna or chicken salad with whole grain crackers
  • Cheddar and sliced tomato sandwich with a little mayonnaise or mustard
  • The ever popular peanut or other nut butter with jelly, sliced bananas or apples
  • Leftovers like pasta salad, tortellini with tomato sauce, pizza, chicken, turkey sausage or steak.  Kids don’t seem to mind eating them cold.  
  • Healthy soup or chili in a thermos
  • Whole grain bagel or rice cakes with natural peanut butter or cream cheese
  • Baby carrots, celery, sliced cucumbers and pita chips with hummus or ranch dressing
  • All varieties of fresh fruit. Cut apples, mango, oranges and other hard to eat fruit, if needed.
  • Popcorn (a kid-friendly whole grain) alone or mixed with raisins and nuts
  • Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa (look for a brand without added sugar) or black bean dip
  • Low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit and granola or other cereal. Keep them separate and let your child combine them at lunch.
  • Drinkable, spoon-able or squeezable yogurt or kefir
  • Proteins like cheese sticks or cubes, hard-boiled eggs, diced tofu drizzled with teriyaki sauce, nuts or chickpeas 

Here's another tip: Reduce environmental waste by packing whatever you can in reusable containers and washing used plastic utensils in the dishwasher.

Now that you’ve put so much thought into your children’s lunches, it’s time to start thinking about a nutritious dinner!


This article was provided by Aviva Goldfarb, CEO, The Six O’Clock Scramble,

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