Lunchbox Lessons for Healthy Recipes

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Back to school recipes

For today’s lesson, we’ll be using the basic ABCs for a nutritious and pleasing lunch.

A = Aim for All Five. Aim to include at least one item from each of the five nutrient-rich food groups. What are those five groups? The correct answer: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy/milk and proteins. Whip up my Very Veggie Turkey Wrap or A+ Apple Turkey Wrap and Zesty Beet Hummus for a gold star.

B = Balance. Simply balance high-calorie, -sodium and -fat choices with plenty of nutrient-rich choices. For example, if you want to pack some potato chips and a jumbo sandwich with bologna on white bread, that’s fine. Just stuff that sandwich with some vegetables or apple slices and include other fruits and vegetables in the lunch.

See More: Nutrition notes and selection tips for lunchbox recipes

C = Color. The more color in your lunch, the more appealing, and the greater the likelihood your kids will eat everything. Fruits and vegetables provide the most color, but different cheeses, unique crackers and breads can provide variety, too.

D = Dessert or Treat. That’s right. Because you aced the B for Balance test, you know it’s perfectly OK to include a decadent treat or dessert. Go ahead and include your child’s favorite cookies, cake, pie or small candy bars. You’ll get extra credit if that treat contains significant nutrient value, like Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars.

E = Easy Prep. Making lunches the night before and storing in the refrigerator is a huge time-saver.

F = Food Safety. It’s a No. 1 priority. Keep all food surfaces clean and avoid cross-contamination while preparing lunches. Wipe lunch containers out every day. And always include freezable ice packs in lunches that have meat sandwiches, last night’s leftovers, or dips and hummus.

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