Pack Better School Lunches

Brown Bag Lunches can get boring. Kids may trade to get a lunch that they find more fun to eat. For adults, boredom can lead to a trip to the vending machine or convenience store- a difficult place to find healthful choices. It’s time to think outside the bag.

Think outside the bag

To start thinking “outside the bag,” use the ideas below to put together a fun lunch that brown baggers of all ages will enjoy. Be sure to add your favorites to the list!

Note: Add a freezer pack and insulated bag to keep foods safe until lunch time.

Pick from these whole grains choices—pick one or two:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole grain mini-bagel or pita bread
  • Toasted whole grain English muffin
  • Low fat granola in a one-quarter cup container
  • Quinoa, rice, or pasta salad

Vegetable choices—pick two or more 1/2 cup servings:

  • Three bean salad, with added beets and olives, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • Hummus
  • Vegetable soup (1-cup) in a thermos or microwave safe container
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Cooked green beans
  • Sweet pepper strips
  • Cooked corn the cob (6”ear = ½ cup; 8-9” ear =1 cup)
  • Salad (1-cup) with one tablespoon of dressing

Fruit choices—pick one:

  • Favorite fall apples
  • Dried fruit packed in a one-quarter cup container
  • Frozen berries packed in a one-half cup container (they thaw by lunchtime)
  • One-cup 100% juice

Dairy/high calcium choices—pick one:

  • Chocolate milk or calcium–fortified soy milk
  • Yogurt
  • String cheese
  • High calcium hot cocoa packet or already made up in a thermos
  • Pudding

Protein choices—pick one:

  • Turkey or chicken breast or roast beef slices
  • Canned tuna, salmon or other fish
  • Bean salad or spread from above (beans count as protein AND vegetable)
  • Flavored baked tofu or tempeh chunks
  • Chunky peanut butter, sunflower seed or almond butter

You can create delicious lunch combinations:

  • Whole grain crackers and cheese, chicken and vegetable soup in a thermos, a serving of celery sticks, chocolate milk to drink and a Ginger Gold apple.
  • Three-bean salad with grape tomatoes, rice or quinoa, and an apple with peanut butter.
  • Toasted whole grain English muffin with tomato, turkey, and low fat cheese with 100% grape juice to drink.

Brown bag lunches won’t be boring anymore!

Printed with permission from the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society, Inc. Copyright 2010.

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