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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Lunches

All summer my kids have gotten sandwiches packed for lunch. I'm thinking of some other ideas for fall. Something other than chicken nuggets (which is in the rotation). 

Make your own Lunchable: I won't buy Lunchables (too much packaging, sugar, fat and lack of nutrition). That said, I will make my own, using low-fat salami and crackers (yeah, the salt content is pretty high), or low-fat string cheese and crackers, along with apple slices or applesauce. 

Wraps: You can do meat/cheese wraps without the bread, or inside a whole wheat tortilla. Or skip the meat and do cheese and grilled veggies.

Leftovers: This is usually my kids' favorite lunch, providing they liked it the night before! It can be as simple as leftover pasta with parmesan, rice and tofu or teriyaki chicken, or hearty soup in a thermos.

Breakfast: I sometimes send oatmeal in a thermos, or a bagel with peanut butter. I've done leftover breakfast waffles and soy sausage.

Sandwiches: FamilyFun has a list of creative sandwich ideas, like sandwich on a stick, PB&J blossom sandwiches, sandwich art, and spiral sandwiches

Microwaveable Pasta: Don't know if your kids have access to a microwave at school (mine don't), but these are good for parents too - at work or at home. Barilla sent me some of their microwaveable meals (basically pasta/sauce) to try, and I agreed because the pasta they use is high fiber (6 grams per container). They're also not frozen, which is good because my freezer space is limited. The stats: 320 calories, 5 grams of fat, 9-11 grams of protein and they're ready in a minute. The cost is $3.29 a package and the shelf life is a year. They have a $1 off coupon for the Barilla Microwaveable Meals on the site. They're not paying me to say this, and I liked the pasta. There is the packaging issue (like Lunchables).

Fruit Cups: Dole has a new product, single serving frozen fruit cups. I saw these at the BlogHer conference (but alas, was too full from lunch to try them). They have frozen pineapple, blueberries and strawberries (all single fruit types, not mixed). You can eat them frozen or put them in a lunch box and they'll thaw by lunch. The benefit: no syrup in the bottom and minimal texture loss when thawing (according to them). It's just fruit, with no added sugar or preservatives. Each cup is 50 or less and one fruit serving. They'll retail for around $2 for a 3 pack.

I did a post on School Snacks some time back - check it out.

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