Healthy back-to-school lunches: Recipes & foods to consider this school year

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MILWAUKEE -- A new school year means all those after-school activities, practices, homework -- and of course packing lunches. Marible Alchin, a personal chef and Meijer Dietitian and healthy living advisor, join FOX6 WakeUp to give us tips on making lunches. Click here for more information.

To make sure your child’s lunch offers both variety and health consider using the MyPlate guidelines.

 The USDA’s Choose MyPlate guidelines emphasize balancing fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy and it can easily be utilized for packing a school lunch.

Foods to include:

  • 1 serving of lean protein/meat
  • 1 serving of whole grains
  • 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables
  • 1 serving of low fat or fat free dairy

There are plenty of options to fulfill the Choose MyPlate guidelines when packing a lunch. In fact, many are children’s favorites and feature a variety of unique flavors.

Here are a few examples:

Fruit: Fresh, canned in juice (water), dried, 100% juice, or frozen (to thaw by lunch time and keep lunch boxes chilled). Apples, pears, plums, oranges, kiwifruit, mandarin oranges, pineapple, unsweetened applesauce, bananas

Vegetables: Carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini strips, grape/cherry tomatoes, lettuce for sandwiches or salads, soup in a thermos made with extra vegetables

Meat and protein foods: lunch meats, leftover meats/poultry/fish from dinner, tuna, peanut butter, hummus, cheese, soy products such as tofu or veggie burgers

Whole Grains: whole wheat breads, pitas, tortillas, wraps, whole grain English muffins for sandwiches and other whole grains including whole wheat pasta, rice, cereals, crackers and tortilla chips

Low-fat dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, pudding made with fat free milk, alternative milk for milk allergies (almond milk, soymilk)

Keeping lunch nutritious doesn’t have to be difficult. Just ask your child to be involved in the planning and even the preparation of their school lunch to make sure they’re eating nutritious foods they’ll really enjoy.

Our easy lunches are quick to pack, and offer healthier options with our True Goodness™ by Meijer™ products.  Try our tasty ideas and your son or daughter won’t be willing to trade!

The Nibbler:

  • Natural Turkey Lunch Meat and Reduced Fat Cheese – cut into fun shapes
  • Fresh Red Grapes and Pear Cubes
  • True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Crackers or Tortilla Chips
  • Colorful Cherry Tomatoes

All Time Favorites:

  • PB&J Pinwheel on Whole Grain Tortilla Wrap
  • Veggies and Yogurt Ranch Dip
  • Watermelon – cut into fun shapes
  • True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Cookies

Something New:

  • Turkey & Avocado on a Bagel Thin
  • Sliced Orange Bell Peppers, Carrots & Cucumbers
  • Mixed Fresh Berries
  • Horizon Low Fat Milk single