Back To School Healthy Recipe Ideas: Lunchbox Alternatives

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Created by A&P’s Corporate Dietitian Jacqueline Gomes, RD, MBA

The kids are back to school and that means packing their lunch boxes. Here are some tips to help children eat healthier during the school day.

  • Transform healthy foods into tasty foods: Sure we want them to eat their banana, but if we add a little peanut butter and a whole-wheat tortilla it might go down a little easier. Peanut Butter & Banana Pinwheels not only taste great but are a complete meal that includes protein, fruit and whole grains. These are fast and easy to prepare. Simply spread peanut butter inside a whole-wheat tortilla, place a banana in center, roll up and slice into pinwheels.
  • A cookie-cutter sandwich: Whole grains are important because of their fiber and antioxidant content. If your child is not quite ready to take the leap toward brown, whole grain breads, you can try items like Stroehmann’s Soft n’ Tasty whole grain white, or you can mix it up by using one slice whole wheat and one slice white. Simple tip: Invest in cookie cutters to transform a typical sandwich into fun shapes and puzzles. These are always a hit with smaller children.
  • Dip or dunk? Kids love to dip their food because it adds excitement to regular items like apples or grapes. A really cool recipe that the kids will love is fruit and cheese kabobs. All you need are small wooden skewers and large chunks of fruit, like grapes, pineapple, or strawberries, and cubes of cheese. These are easy enough for young children to prepare and are perfect to prepare ahead of time so they’re ready to go when you’re packing lunches in the morning. Use their favorite yogurt as a dip, and you’ll have both a fruit serving and dairy serving for the day.
  • Drinking a serving of veggies? Did you know that a ½ cup of basic tomato sauce counts as a full vegetable serving? Consider a warm lunch by heating up last night’s pasta dinner, adding a ½ cup of tomato sauce and a little Parmesan cheese for a delicious home-cooked lunch. Kids need the complex carbohydrate of pasta to provide energy for after-school activities as well as for normal brain function. This meal will stay warm for a few hours in an insulated thermos.
  • Pack what your child likes. There’s really no point in packing a healthy lunch that you know your child won’t eat. Take them to the grocery store, add some new foods to their diet gradually, ask them to help you prepare the new foods, and make sure you feed them a balanced and varied diet at home. Most children tend to eat healthy foods if offered different foods.

About A&P
Founded in 1859, A&P is one of the nation’s first supermarket chains. The Company operates 320 stores in six states under the following trade names: A&P, Best Cellars, Food Basics, The Food Emporium, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum’s.

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