What Makes a Great School Lunch?

a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, top slice ...

Spice up lunches this year by including more than just a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that the kids have been back in school for a few weeks, you might start to hear some grumbling here and there about lunch time.  New lunch boxes and new routines can make lunchtime exciting and interesting when school first starts, but if you are sending the same old sandwich and juice box every day, your kids are bound to get bored.  Here are some ideas on what you can do to send them off to school with a meal that will have them longing for lunchtime.

Pass on Peanut Butter and Jelly

This is a school lunch staple for a reason, most kids love peanut butter and jelly.  However, even kids can get tired of something they love if it shows up in their lunchbox every day.  Think outside the box a little to give your kids a sandwich that they will be bragging about.  Try these kid-friendly alternatives to plain old peanut butter and jelly.

  • Desert Chicken Salad – Whether you scoop this out on a bed of lettuce or make it into a wrap, the goodness of Arizona-grown chicken with golden raisins and healthy yogurt makes this a great school lunch option.
  • Grandma Gertie’s BLT – Try this delicious version of a classic BLT that features some great local flavors.  If your child doesn’t love spicy food, you can skip the peppers.

Feature Fruit

Fruits like apples and grapes have been making their way into school lunch boxes for generations.  They are easy to eat, easy to store, and most kids love them.  But just like same-old-sandwich syndrome, kids can get bored if there is no fun in their fruit.  Make sure your child is getting the nutrients they need by mixing it up sometimes with these great fruit-fabulous ideas.

  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honey Dew Melon
  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Berry Medley with blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries

Swap in a Salad

The recent focus on developing healthy eating habits means that more kids than ever are eating salads in place of burgers or sandwiches.  This opens the door to a bunch of great options for keeping lunch fresh and interesting.  Whether you are looking for a standard green salad with a delicious dressing or a pasta salad featuring protein, you can find great salad recipes that will fill your child up without weighing them down.  Here are some of our favorites.

  • Apple Pear Salad – This is the perfect back to school salad as it features to fruits that are currently in season.
  • Avocado Tomato Salad – If your child loves avocado, this salad will seem more like a treat than a chore to eat.
  • Country Garden Salad – Filled with all the goodness of the garden, this salad can easily be changed to feature vegetables your child loves.  Pack a small container of their favorite dressing to add a little extra flavor.

As your family settles back into the regular school schedule, don’t let lunch become routine.  By varying what you pack in your child’s lunch box, you will expose them to a wider range of food options while ensuring they get a solid nutritious meal.

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