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Back to school food dos and don’ts

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Lunch tips & ideas

Back-to-school time is just around the corner. Many children don't get proper nutrition when eating lunch at school. Teach your children about healthy eating habits and offer them nutritious meal options for school lunches.

Girls peaking into lunchbox

Do check out the school lunch menu

Many schools have improved the quality of their lunch menus to be more nutritious and delicious. Before the school year kicks off, ask for the first month's lunch menu. If things aren't up to snuff, start planning to pack your child's lunch for school.

Consider these five healthy brown bag lunches kids will love >>

Do purchase cool food containers

Instead of packing your child's lunch in a brown bag, look for cool lunch boxes, drink bottles and other containers. Check out the Thermos lunch products that include insulated lunch sacks, food jars, drink bottles and more. These lunch essentials feature a variety of themes and characters, from iCarly and Dora the Explorer to Toy Story and Barbie.

Do plan your lunches a week at a time

On the weekend, sit down and plan out your child's lunch menu for the following week. You'll be more apt to create nutritious, well-balanced meals if you plan them out ahead of time. Have each child make a list of foods they like and try to incorporate them into their school lunches.

Follow these tips to create a weekly school lunch menu >>

Do follow food safety rules

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Freeze drink boxes or add a cold pack to your child's lunch box to keep sandwiches cold. Use a Thermos for hot soups, stews and pasta. Insulated lunch boxes and bags will also help to control temperature. When preparing lunch, keep your work surface clean, and always remember to wash lunch containers daily to prevent germs, bacteria and odors.

Don't pack the same thing every day

It's easy to get into the habit of throwing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, juice box and a piece of fruit into your child's lunch box every day, however, to keep them interested in lunch, you should mix things up. Use tortilla wraps, pita pockets or hot dog buns in the place of traditional bread. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with unusual combinations or unique sandwich fillings.

Check out these five creative school lunches >>

Don't forget about leftovers

Many times, your leftovers from dinner can be repackaged for lunch the next day. Leftover chicken can become chicken salad. Meatballs from your pasta dinner can be be turned into a meatball sub sandwich. Think outside the box to create some extraordinary lunch ideas for your kids.

Don't leave your child out of the process

When kids think they have control, they are more likely to follow the rules. This goes for lunch too. Take your child with you to the farmers market to pick out fruits and veggies for their lunch. Also, allow them to take part in packing their lunch every day. The more involved they are in the process, the more likely your kids will eat and enjoy their lunch.

Consider these five reasons your kids should pack their own lunches >>

More lunch ideas for kids

Create a weekly school lunch menu
Healthy brown bag lunches
Cheap, healthy lunches for kids

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