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Thinking Outside the Lunch Box

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This information has been reviewed and approved by Emily McCloud, RS, MD, July 2016.

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Summary: Thinking Outside the Lunch Box

Refresh family lunches with these nutritious and fun ideas!

Breaking Bread — sandwiches

  • Cucumber boats/medallions/slices
  • Lettuce wraps
  • Pretzel stick kabob
  • Sweet bell pepper cups
  • Tomato top and bottom
  • Whole grain wraps
  • Low carb tortillas
  • Whole grain pitas
  • Whole grain crackers

Cream of the Crop — select lean protein sources

  • Canned tuna or chicken
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hummus or beans
  • Low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
  • Meat leftovers
  • Nut or seed butter
  • Pasta or quinoa salad
  • Quiche muffins
  • Reduced fat cheese
  • Shelled edamame

Go Bananas — quick to make and eat fruits

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi cup (cut top off and eat with spoon)
  • Melon cubes
  • No-sugar added/light syrup fruit cups

Veg Out — tasty veggies and dips

  • Avocado slices (sprinkled with lemon juice)
  • Baby carrots/dip/nut butter
  • Bell pepper strips/dip/hummus
  • Broccoli/lite dressing/dip
  • Cauliflower/lite dressing/dip
  • Celery/hummus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber chunks/dip

Providing healthy food and drinks will help fuel your children for learning!

You Take the Cake — low sugar treats
Check package for serving size

  • ¼ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 10 to 12  almonds, pistachios or walnuts
  • Air-popped popcorn/salt-free seasoning
  • Whole grain gold fish crackers
  • Whole grain tortilla chips/salsa
  • No-sugar applesauce
  • 10 to 12 dark chocolate chips
  • Animal crackers
  • No-sugar pudding cups
  • Homemade low-sugar cookies

My Cup of Tea — low or no sugar drink options

  • Water with fruit or veggies
  • Green tea/a few drops of honey
  • Seltzer water/splash of 100 percent juice
  • Sparkling or seltzer water/slices of lemon or lime
  • Low-sodium vegetable juice
  • Iced tea, unsweetened
  • No sugar added juice
  • Unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • Low-fat or fat-free milk

Fun and Games — add a little fun

  • Food cut into fun shapes
  • Kabobs on a lollipop stick
  • Stickers on packaging and utensils
  • Muffin papers instead of bags
  • Crinkle or spiral cut veggies
  • Colored sponges made into icepacks
  • Child’s name on banana