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School Lunches, Healthy Choices

Packing up a healthy school lunch is easy with these tasty tips.

Healthy School Lunches: Make Other Meals Do Double Duty

You can get a healthy midday meal together fast when you've cooked it up that morning -- or the night before.

Leftovers for Lunch. When dinner is a hit, dish it up again the next day for lunch. These leftovers work well in a thermos or insulated bag:

  • Sloppy Joes: Serve with bread sticks, crackers, or a roll, baby carrots or celery sticks, and 1% low-fat milk
  • Pizza, fruit, and 100% fruit juice
  • Shepherd's pie, stew, macaroni and cheese, Chinese food, or pasta and meatballs; fruit, and 1% low-fat milk

Lunch on Breakfast. Kids love to mix up meal times. They'll look forward to lunch with these midday meals in the bag.

  • Dry whole-grain cereal, slivered almonds for mixing with cereal; thermos of 1% low-fat milk (or purchase a carton at school); fruit
  • French toast cut into strips, single-serve container of applesauce for dipping, carton or thermos of 1% low-fat milk
  • Whole-grain bagel or mini bagels spread with low-fat cream cheese, carton of low-fat yogurt, banana
  • Waffle sandwich: two whole-grain waffles, spread with any nut butter or sunflower seed butter, carton of low-fat yogurt, fruit

Deal With Dessert.When other kids are eating cookies, candy or other treats at lunchtime, it may be difficult for your child to go without. So pack these treats:

  • A mini candy bar or a mini muffin works well to satisfy a sweet tooth; 100-calorie packs of lower-fat cookies, such as animal crackers, are a happy compromise, too.
  • Dessert doesn't have to be sweet. Pack a single-serve bag of low-fat popcorn (it's a whole grain!); sliced hard cheese and dried fruit; or a small amount of snack chips.

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