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Lunch ideas for your children's brown bag

September 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Children have been in school for a few weeks now, and you may have exhausted your brown bag lunch ideas. But homemade school lunch doesn't have to be the same every day.

"Keep portion sizes small, manageable for the kids, like snacks that they would have after school," said Albertson's dietitian Heidi Diller.

Kids will tell you lunch and recess time is way too short, so they often dump lunch to play.

"You've gotten those sandwiches home that only have a few bites taken out of it right?" Diller said.

But that doesn't mean you can't pack smart. One thing that's really important to note is that you do not have to make a sandwich.

"You can put foods in there (like) little finger bites of crackers and mini quiches and things that they can dip. Kids love that," Diller said.

Try mini quiches made of egg and spinach baked in little muffin tins, with grapes and whole grain crackers. Another hit is a tuna salad makeover using canned tuna and hummus. It's really tasty, served with walnuts, crackers and veggie sticks.

Or try making sweet and sour wraps. They're made with deli turkey roll-ups with strawberry cream cheese and shredded veggies. It's great with roasted garbanzo beans and fruit.

Diller likes Ziploc's new reusable and recyclable pre-portioned containers.

When kids get a little older, Diller says you can try a salad, with black beans for iron and protein, chicken, somersault sunflower seed crackers and apples.

Offer low or no sugar fluids for thirst, and avoid carbohydrate over load.

"If kids eat too many carbohydrates at lunch, basically it just makes them sleepy after lunch," Diller said.

So we want to make sure we give kids lunches that are higher in protein and fiber to give them staying power.

But treats are fine, like Somersaults with whole grains and seeds, Beanito chips made with beans or Kashi's brownie that also contains sweet potato. Somersaults, Beanitos and Kashi brownies are found at Albertsons and other major grocery chains.


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