Think Outside The (Lunch) Box
Standard lunchbox fare – a sandwich, an apple and a bag of chips – hasn’t changed much. You can bet that if you’re sick of making it, your kids are probably sick of eating it. It’s time to update the lunchbox. Mix up the typical lunchbox meal with slight variations on the old standbys!
Update the fruits and veggies
If your go-to healthy side is to stash an apple or carrot sticks, it's time to update your selection. Instead of an apple, pick a fun fruit like a kiwi — it's packed with vitamin C. Instead of orange slices, toss in a mixed-fruit cup or mandarin oranges. Replace carrot sticks with other sliced veggies like celery — pile on the peanut butter for bonus points — bite-sized cherry tomatoes, cucumber rings or broccoli florets. Entice your kids to actually eat their veggies by including a small container or baggie filled with their favorite salad dressing for dipping.
Switch out the sides
It's tempting — and quick — to throw some Doritos in a baggie and call it a side. Up the health factor with interesting alternatives. Switch out the chips for dried fruit — dried apricots and blueberries are tasty choices. Try homemade chips by baking kale with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Or pick up dried veggie chips, which are a healthier alternative but just as fast.
Try a new beverage
Milk has always been the favorite lunchbox beverage but mix it up with the occasional alternative. Beverages are tricky because they can add in too much extra sugar. Look for options that have reduced or sugar-free options. For example, most health food stores sell sugarless juice boxes that make a great milk substitute. Flavored water is another option. If you want to stick to milk for the protein and calcium, surprise your kids by picking a day of the week to pack them strawberry or chocolate milk instead.
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