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15 Fresh Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

Try these 15 fun, easy-to-pack lunch ideas for kids.

15 Fun Lunchbox Ideas for Kids continued...

Celebrate Lunch Salads. A plastic container can hold the makings of a delicious salad lunch. For a Cobb salad, fill it with spinach or chopped dark green lettuce, chopped hard-boiled egg, light cheese, and/or lean ham. Or toss in the ingredients for a Chinese chicken salad: dark salad greens, shredded chicken, shredded carrots, sliced green onion, and toasted sliced almonds.

The salad will stay fresher if your child adds the dressing at lunchtime. Put a light dressing into a small container, buy packets of light dressing, or use extra packets of dressing left over from a fast-food meal.

It's a Wrap! Wraps are a nice change of pace from the usual sandwich. Use a high-fiber multigrain flour tortilla, available in most supermarkets. Spread on mustard, hummus, light salad dressing, or green or sundried tomato pesto. Then fill 'er up with chicken Caesar salad or assorted lean meats, cheese, tomato, sliced onion, and shredded Romaine lettuce. Just roll it up and wrap in foil. Kids can eat it like a burrito -- by unwrapping it on one end and working their way down.

Noodle Soup Cups. Many schools offer a hot water dispenser so older kids (or young kids with assistance) can add hot water to packaged noodle soup cups. Even the more healthful soup options can be high in sodium, however, so you may not want to pack them in your child’s lunch more than once a week.

Some brands are lower in sodium and fat, and higher in fiber, than others. The nutrition label tells the story. If your child has access to a microwave, you can pack one of the more healthful microwaveable individual soup containers now available from major brands.

Veggie Sushi. Not all kids will go for this, but some children really like seaweed-wrapped sushi rolls. You can now buy pre-made sushi at many supermarkets. Choose sushi that is filled with veggies (such as avocado and cucumber) so there's no chance that it will get a little "fishy" in your child's backpack.

Fun Fried Rice. When made with eggs, tofu or chopped lean meat, and lots of veggies, cold fried rice can be a satisfying noontime treat. Make your own using brown rice. Or set some aside for the next day when you get take-out Chinese food for dinner.

Talk About Taquitos. Taquitos are easy to eat and easy to pack. In the morning, lay a few bean and cheese frozen taquitos on a small sheet of foil. Pop them into a toaster oven to crisp them up. Wrap them up in the foil and slide them in your child’s lunch bag. For a vegetarian option, bean taquitos are available in some stores.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Your child can assemble a yummy BBQ grilled chicken sandwich fresh at lunchtime. Just pack a grilled, boneless, skinless chicken breast with some lettuce and sliced tomato in one baggie and a whole-wheat bun in another. Add a packet of BBQ sauce and it's good to go.

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