Simply Healthy: It’s in the Bag

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School bells will soon be ringing again, changing parents’ thoughts from what the kids do all day to what they will eat for lunch. While fewer kids are taking their lunches to school, there are definite advantages to it

By packing a lunch, you can better control what your child is eating and the cost. Coming up with creative lunches may be quite a challenge though, especially if you have a picky eater.

Also, since most schools only allow a short time to eat, children need foods that are appealing, filling and easy to handle.

One key to getting kids to eat their lunch instead of trashing it is to involve them in the process. If it seems there’s no time to do that, make time. It’s a fact that kids are more likely to eat what they help prepare. Talking to them about their preferences and providing healthy options can make them feel involved and more likely to actually eat and enjoy their lunch.

Make lunch interesting by presenting their favorite foods in a new way. For example, instead of sending an ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwich, wrap it up in a tortilla and then slice to make pinwheels. Another idea is to make quesadillas or even crepes with favorite fillings.

One last tip is that kids eat with their eyes first, just like adults. If food is colorful and attractive, they are much more likely to give it a try.

DIY Pasta Salad 

Makes 4-6 servings

1 lb. pasta, cooked and drained
2 c. diced meat
2 c. diced cheese
2 c. diced veggies
1 c. low-fat salad dressing (Italian, Ranch, etc.) or more, if needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh or dried herbs (optional)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss to coat everything well.

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