Are your kids getting tired of the same old brown paper bag ham and cheese sandwiches or boring meatloaf offered by the school cafeteria? Try some of these ideas for packing your kids a healthy, tasty meal that will keep them interested in eating lunch.
Healthy Brown Bagging Lunch Tips
Before you send your kids off with a new and creative midday meal, keep these things in mind:
- Lunchmeats, dairy products, tuna or potato salads, and eggs are perishable, so pack a freezer pack in their lunch bag.
- Choose whole-grain breads, wraps or pitas for an extra nutritional boost.
- If your child does not like the taste of whole-grain, use breads that are still made with whole-grains but taste like white bread.
- Make sandwiches with lean proteins and healthy toppings — and fix a variety of different sandwiches so your kids don’t get the blah brown bag blues.
- Even better, think beyond the sandwich and pack soup, salads, casserole, stews, chili or stir-fried vegetables in your child’s lunch bag.
Sandwiches don’t have to be boring. If you typically send PB&J’s or pack plain ham and cheese on white bread, add some tasty flair with these options:
- Tuna with light mayonnaise, celery, raisins, spinach and tomato
- Egg salad seasoned with curry powder on whole-grain bread
- Cashew, almond, sesame seed or macadamia nut butter and 100 percent fruit spread (or mashed fresh fruit) on whole-grain bread
- Sliced lean turkey, roast beef, or chicken with vinegar and olive oil, mustard, and one slice of cheese on foccacia bread or a ciabatta roll.
What to send with the sandwich
- Piece of fresh fruit
- Small salad in a plastic container with the dressing on the side
- Cheese sticks (which are loaded with calcium)
- Whole-grain snack crackers
- Homemade fruit salad with grapes, melon balls and blueberries tossed with yogurt
- Mixed dried fruit and nuts (try soynuts for a change)
- Cold pasta salad, coleslaw or potato salad made with low-fat mayo or dressing
- Baked banana chips (avoid the fried variety)
- Baby carrots with a light dip or guacamole
- Crunchy raw green beans with light Ranch dressing
- Low-fat flavored yogurt
Healthy, tasty brown bag recipes
Ham Club Sliders
Makes 4 servings
Hummus and Grilled Vegetable Wrap
Makes 4 servings
Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels
Makes 2 servings