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Lunch Box Blues


Article Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, August 6th, 2011



Now that Labor Day weekend has ended, that means school is starting. That also means the end of throwing together fresh summer foods for lunches whenever the mood strikes. It is time to start planning what to pop in those lunch boxes that will keep your kids full and energized throughout the day.

If your kids are like mine, peanut and butter and jelly will only be accepted until about mid October. Then the complaints about how boring their lunches are start rolling out. I have had to get creative. It is important to ensure kids are getting the proper nutrients to carry them throughout the long school day. When packing lunches try to ensure there is a protein such as chicken, beans, peanut butter or Greek yogurt. This will help keep them fuller longer. Add in a whole grain carbohydrate to help give them the energy they need for recess all the way through math class. Pop in a fruit and a veggie and they are good to go.

Here are some ideas for healthy lunches that think outside the sandwich. These have been grade school kid tested and approved.

  • Quiche or sushi

  • Turkey with string cheese and whole grain crackers. Pop them in a divided Tupperware with a bite sized candy bar for your own healthier “Lunchable”.

  • Whole grain pretzels with a peanut butter dip

  • Fruit kabobs ( cut up melon, apples, strawberries and grapes and put them on a skewer)

  • Celery filled with cream cheese or nut butter and topped with raisin ( aka: Ants on a log)

  • Stewed apples topped with cinnamon and granola

  • Whole wheat pita bread with a refried bean dip

  • Baked potato ( or sweet potato) topped with cheese and veggies

  • Cold leftover corn on the cob or other roasted veggies

  • Sliced turkey or ham wrapped around sweet or dill pickles.

  • Artisan bread in place of plain old wonder bread. Use avocado, pesto or hummus as a spread instead of mustard.

  • Make your own trail mix. Let the kids choose the ingredients then throw in an airtight container. (Mine use cheerios, almonds, cranberries and mini chocolate chips).

Then there is the king of the lunch box. Pasta. Make it cold or hot, with marinara, pesto, or olive oil. Whatever you have, throw it in. Here is my favorite recipe:

Shaped noodles such as bowtie or rotini, boiled and drained.

Diced chicken, tofu (or other lean protein). Leftovers work great.

Broccoli florets, steamed and cooled.

Frozen peas, boiled and cooled.

Mix the above ingredients together with some pesto. Store it in the fridge. Kids love it hot or cold and depending on the pickiness factor, you can serve it for days.


We all need help creating fun meals for our family. If you have a great lunch idea that will ensure that an empty lunchbox comes home every day, please share.


Article by: Sherri Sacconaghi
Certified Health Coach and Personal Fitness Trainer
Ph: 503 621 7549
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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