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Back to School Lunch Tips

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If your child is a picky eater or tired of eating ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch each day, do not lose hope! It just might be time to change the school lunch routine. Make it fun and tasty, but keep it healthy, too. Try these tips and your child will be excited for lunch every day!

Make it Fun

  • Bento Lunch Box Channel your creativity and pack your child’s lunch in neat ways, different shapes and lots of colors! Pick up fun cookie cutters to cut sandwiches and fruit into animal or flower shapes. The more color fruit and vegetables included, the healthier the lunch will be!
  • Fancy Cups and Containers Have your child pick out a new drink cup or Tupperware. The excitement that follows will motivate them to eat up!
  • Keep it Interactive Let them play with their food (and then eat it of course)! Think “build-your-own” sandwiches or pack a healthy dips and veggies. The more hands-on, the better!

Keep it Healthy

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  • Choose whole-grain breads, low-fat or fat-free dairy options and lean meats and proteins. Make half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Serve lunch with water or 100% fruit juice
  • Two to three slices Natural Roasted Turkey Breast with one slice of reduced fat swiss and five apple slices on a 100% whole wheat wrap, ten baby carrots with low-fat ranch dip
  • One cup whole wheat pasta salad with veggies and light vinaigrette, sliced hard-boiled egg, one cup sliced blueberries, two to three oatmeal cookies
  • Three ounces tuna salad with light mayonnaise served with red pepper and cucumber slices, 10 whole wheat crackers, 1 cup red grapes, 1 part-skim string cheese

Keep it Clean, Cool & Safe

  • Clean your child’s lunch box or lunch bag with warm, soapy water before each use.
  • Remember to wash vegetables and ready-to-eat fruits like apples and grapes, as well as peel-and-eat fruits like bananas and oranges to eliminate harmful bacteria that can spread during peeling or cutting.
  • Perishable foods should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours. Keep your child’s lunch safe by packing it in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack to keep foods cold. As an alternative, use a frozen water bottle as an ice pack, which will thaw for a refreshing drink by lunchtime.
  • Consider replacing foods that can spoil with shelf-stable foods such as trail mix, cereal, granola bars, bagels, carrot and celery sticks, whole fruit, dried fruit, single-serve applesauce and wholegrain crackers.

Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich

Recipe adapted from Harmon’s Grocery

Makes: 1 serving

  • 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread
  • 2 ounces oven roasted chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 4-6 thin cucumber slices
  • 1 ounce coleslaw with light mayonnaise

Preparation:

  1. Layer chicken, cucumber, carrot and coleslaw onto one slice of bread. Top with remaining slice and serve!

 Gluten-free Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich

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Recipe Adapted from Eatingwell.com

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchatel)
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 slices Udi’s Gluten free Fiber & Flax Bread
  • 2 medium strawberries, sliced

Preparation:

  1. Combine cream cheese, honey and orange zest in a bowl. Spread bread with the cheese mixture. Place sliced strawberries on 1 piece of bread, top with the other.

Light Tuna Wrap with Veggies

Makes: 1 serving

  • 1, 100% whole wheat flour tortilla
  • 3 ounces Tuna Salad with light mayonnaise
  • 2-3 thin zucchini slices
  • 2-3 thin red pepper slices
  • 1 thin onion slice
  • ¼ cup spinach

Preparation:

  1. Layer tuna salad, zucchini, red pepper, onion and spinach in the center of the tortilla wrap. Roll tortilla into a log shape and enjoy!

The ALT (Avocado, Lettuce & Tomato) Sandwich

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Recipe from health.com 

Makes: 1 serving

  • 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread
  • ½ tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1 large leaf romaine or Boston lettuce
  • 1 thin tomato slice
  • 3 slices avocado
  • 1 slice reduced-fat, reduced sodium Swiss cheese
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon roasted red pepper hummus

Preparation:

1. Spread mayonnaise onto one slice of bread. Layer cheese, avocado, tomato and lettuce leaf. Top with remaining slice of bread and serve!

References: Eatright.org, Parenting.com, Rightathome.com

 

 

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