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Is it Time for a School Lunch Make-Over?

By Lara Hamilton RDN, CDE

Do you struggle to find fresh ideas for packing your child’s lunch with healthy food they'll actually eat? Do you have questions about the right quantity of food to pack? The DMG dietitians understand how difficult it can be to come up with new ways to incorporate essential nutrients in a child’s diet. Below, find new meal combinations to get your child trying new flavors in appropriate portion sizes. They won’t realize it, but you are teaching them how to eat properly and make good food choices in the future.

Remember that whenever possible, it is a good idea to replace processed meats with healthier protein choices. If skipping processed meats is a deal breaker for your little one, be sure to choose nitrate-free selections.

  • Peanut butter (or sunflower butter if peanuts are not allowed) and banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread, 1 cup milk, 1 cup grapes and baby carrots
  • Tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread, 1 container yogurt, 1 cup blueberries (can be added to yogurt if desired)
  • Veggie wrap with cheddar cheese, hummus and cucumber wrap (use 10-inch tortilla, spread hummus on tortilla fill with cheese and sliced cucumbers, roll tortilla to close), 1 plum, 1 cup milk
  • Egg salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread, 1 clementine, 2 cups popcorn, baby carrots, 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or sunflower butter if peanuts are not allowed) with 10 whole-wheat crackers, 1 cup strawberries, cucumber slices with hummus, 1 container yogurt
  • Mini chicken salad sandwich – use rotisserie chicken for a quick tip (serve on whole-wheat slider buns), celery slices with peanut butter (or sunflower butter), 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup milk
  • 1 string cheese, 1 banana muffin (homemade, if possible), 1/3 cup raisins and mixed nuts (almonds and pecans), 1 apple with peanut butter (or sunflower butter) for dipping, 1 container yogurt
  • Hummus and cheese pita sandwich, 1 hardboiled egg, ants on a log (celery slices topped with peanut or sunflower butter and raisins), 1 clementine
  • 10 whole-wheat crackers, string cheese, container applesauce, ¼ cup nuts, celery and carrot sticks, 1 cup milk
  • Whole–wheat cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, hardboiled egg, 1 cup strawberries and blueberries, 1 container yogurt
  • Rotisserie chicken and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, 1 cup strawberries and blueberries, 1 container yogurt
  • Rotisserie chicken, cheese and cucumber on whole-wheat wrap, 1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes, 1 container applesauce, 1 cup milk
  • Egg salad in a whole-wheat pita, 1 cup watermelon, baby carrots and celery, 1 container yogurt
    ½ cup cottage cheese, 1 cup diced peaches, 10 whole-wheat crackers, pepper slices with hummus, 2 tablespoons nuts.

If you have additional questions about getting your family on the right track for healthy eating, be sure to schedule a visit with one of our registered dietitians.

Be sure to check with your children's school for school lunch guidelines regarding allergy information. 

Topics and Subtopics: Children's Health & Diet & Nutrition

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