How to Pack a Healthier Lunchbox
Healthy Lunches Game Plan
Mix it up: Kids tire of sandwiches, so give them plenty of variety. Mix strawberries and blueberries into low-fat vanilla yogurt with a serving of whole-grain crackers on the side; spread peanut butter and banana on a low-fat wheat tortilla and roll it up; or make trail mix with a cup of Cheerios, a handful of nuts, and a cup of dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries. Add a piece of string cheese on the side, and you've got a complete lunch.
Keep it safe: Keep foods from spoiling by freezing a water bottle and popping it in with the lunch, suggests Tanner. "By the time your child is ready to eat, the ice will be almost melted, and the lunch will still be cold."
Make it fun: For young ones, use cookie cutters to create fun shapes out of a sandwich. Or spread veggie cream cheese and turkey on a low-fat tortilla, then cut it into sushi-roll-size bites. Remember that fun doesn't have to come in the form of food. Try slipping a few stickers or a little "I love you" note into the lunchbox, and that same old cheese sandwich becomes much more palatable.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, September 2004.