Beating the Bore of School Lunches

Beat the bore of school lunches by packing your own!

It’s back to school time! Do your kids have a habit of skipping lunch because of time or dislike school lunches? Beat the bore of school lunches by packing your own!

Here are some tips for making packed lunches exciting and nutritious:

  • Take children to the grocery store and let them pick out the fruits and veggies.
  • Have your child help with packing their lunch. Try to pack the night before instead of waiting until morning when everyone is rushed.
  • Allow a “treat” on occasion, but keep serving sizes small.
  • For “treats”, use stickers, small toy, or family activities rather than food.
  • Make lunch colorful. The more color, usually the more nutrients.
  • Choose drinks such as Crystal Light, Propel, fruit-infused waters or simply water with a slice of lemon or lime.  Put these in a fun water bottle.
  • Choose fruits that are easy to eat and not messy. Cut fruits and veggies into small pieces for younger kids, or try dried fruit (1 serving = ¼ cup).
  • Cut sandwiches into diamonds, triangles, rectangles or other fun shapes.


A Healthy Lunch should include:

Carbohydrates (pick 2)

 1 rice cake

 ½ medium low-fat muffin

 ½ Whole wheat English muffin

 1 slice whole-wheat bread

 1 small dinner roll

 1 6-inch tortilla

 ½ pita pocket

 1 cup whole grain cereal

 3 cups plain popcorn

 ½ cup pretzels or baked chips

 1 small cookie

 1 cup chicken noodle or other

 broth based soup

 1 rectangular graham cracker

 1 mini-bagel


Protein (pick 3)

  3 Tbsp canned tuna (½ cup = 3 oz) canned tuna

 1 slice (1 oz) lean turkey, ham or roast beef

  1 slice low-fat (part skim) cheese

  1 piece string cheese

  1 wedge Laughing Cow low-fat cheese

  2 teaspoons peanut butter (2 Tablespoons = 3 oz)

  1 egg

  ¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese

  1 Tbsp. almonds

  ¼ chicken breast (3/4 breast = 3 oz.)


Fruit (pick 1)

 ½ banana

 1 cup berries

 1 piece of fruit (apple, orange, peach, plum, etc..)

 2 kiwis (peeled)

 1 cup mango or papaya

 17 grapes

 1 cup cut up melon

 ½ cup canned fruit (packed in light syrup or own juices, drained

 ¼ cup dried fruit


Dairy (pick 1)

 1 cup 1% or skim milk

 1 cup light or sugar free soy milk

 1 sugar-free/fat-free pudding cup

 1 6 oz “light” flavored yogurt


Vegetables (pick as many as you like)

 Baby Carrots or celery sticks

 Bite size wedges of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini or other summer squash, or bell peppers

 Sugar Snap peas

 Romaine Lettuce or Spinach Salad

 Cherry tomatoes

 Cucumber slices sprinkled lemon juice


Fat (optional, pick 1)

 2 Tbsp. light salad dressing such as ranch, honey, mustard, Caesar

 ¼ cup hummus

 2 Tbsp. light cream cheese

 1 Tbsp. reduced fat mayo

 2 Tbsp. low-fat sour cream

 1/8 avocado

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