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8 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

Trade in the peanut butter and jelly for something new and healthy that will make your child the happiest kid in the cafeteria.

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Eating meals together at home is important for families, but don’t underestimate the importance of the meal you send to school with your child each day. In the same way that it is important to sit down and break bread with our family, kids sit down at school and do the same with peers of their choosing.

A positive experience eating lunch at school begins with a positive experience opening up that lunch box and finding out what’s inside. The same old peanut butter and jelly, pretzels and apple may work for the first couple of years of school, but as a child gets older and develops more sophisticated preferences, you can do better. Work together with your child to create portable, healthy meals he or she will feel proud to eat.

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Instead of complaints about how friends have better lunches, you”ll start to hear stories about the funny conversations that happened at lunch or who traded what for what. With a little bit of effort, you”ll notice that your child conveys a content, relaxed tone about lunchtime, exactly like the one you strive to create at dinnertime at home. So when it comes time to whip up a great school lunch, keep these simple tips in mind:

Why not give them something to look forward to each week? Offer bonus sweets in moderation. Keep a secret stash to offer on the last day before the weekend, just a little something to help them celebrate the weekend with their friends like a tiny bag of jelly beans, a lollipop or two or a couple of chocolate kisses.

Once a month, let them get hot lunch—but only once a month. Make a big deal about going over the hot lunch schedule and picking out a day. Then, see which type of lunch they prefer. If you play your lunch-making cards right, hot lunch once a month won’t steal the show.

Healthy Lunch Foods to Try:

Avoid Foods With:

Check out these healthy after-school snack ideas.

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