Back to School Lunches

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While it’s important to send your children to school with a healthy lunch packed with the nutrition they need to learn, grow and play, it’s also important to make sure they eat it. Involve your child while you are packing lunch, this will help them become excited about what is for lunch that day, while also giving them a sense of responsibility knowing they helped pack their lunch. Talk about the foods they are getting in their lunch that day and what kind of nutrients they provide for their growing bodies.

Tips :
1. Find a fun lunchbox. Lunch boxes that have compartments will help separate food. Also, using insulated lunch containers will help keep cold foods cold.
2. Keep it simple. Younger children often like meals with fewer ingredients.
3. Include fresh fruits and vegetables. Freshness in fruits and vegetables decreases with age.
4. Provide variety. Make sure choosy kids have enough to select from.Eating from all five food groups will supply protein, fat and carbohydrates.
5. Have fun! Another great idea is to surprise your child by placing encouraging notes in their lunch box.

In a video entitled “Back-to-school Snacks and Lunch-packing Hacks,” Catherine Hill offers key points for packing easy and healthy lunches. She suggests developing a system that works for you and having the supplies and materials available to make it easy. Catherine Hill is a Nutrition Programs Manager, Family and Consumer Sciences with NC State Extensions offers some new ideas and hacks.

Below I have included five different lunch options with a nice variety, along with how the food is classified in MyPlate.

Option #1:


Pita Bread~Grain

Grape Tomatoes~Fruit


Sliced Oranges~Fruit

Sliced Cheese~Dairy

Option #2:

Turkey and Cheese Roll Up~Protein & Dairy

Berries ~Fruit

Yogurt~ Dairy     

Trail Mix~depending on type of mix it could have, protein, grains, and fruits


Granola Bar~Grain

Options #3:

Cheese and Black Bean Quesadilla~Protein, Dairy, and Grain

Guacamole ~Vegetable

Salsa ~Vegetable

Tortilla Chips ~Grain                                                                               

Strawberries ~ Fruit

Option #4:

Chicken Pasta with Green Peppers ~ Protein, Grain and Vegetable               

Yogurt ~ Dairy                                                                                                

Granola ~ Grain                                                                                             

Berries ~ Fruit

Option #5:

Peanut Butter & Jelly with Whole Wheat Bread (almond butter or sunbutter) ~ Protein and Grain                                                                                           

String Cheese~ Dairy                                                                                      

Grapes ~ Fruit                                                                                                    

Celery Sticks ~ Vegetable                                                                                

Wheat Thins ~ GrainChooseMyPlate.Gov