Thinking outside the lunchbox

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Dinner Diva
Thinking outside the lunchbox

By: Leanne Ely

Today’s Dinner Diva article isn’t about our evening meal, but it’s an important topic to cover just the same – I hope you’ll agree!
I’m talking lunch today, and specifically, lunch boxes.
My kids are beyond the “but Mawwwmmmm, everyone else has [insert your child’s most desired petroleum-by-product-based poison of choice here] why can’t I?” (Thank goodness!)
Of course, my answer to that question is that I don’t believe we should be feeding these “foods” to our children. Kids will be kids, and most kids want what other kids want. It’s human nature. I get that. But I personally don’t think those packaged cookies that come with chocolate icing to dunk them in, and the packages of processed cheese, crackers and deli meat should be consumed by human beings. They do, however, make their way into lunch boxes across North America and beyond.
Those lunch items are jam packed with chemicals and sodium, bad fat and calories.
Trust me when I tell you that I’m trying to reach those parents who are stocking the brown paper bags with those unhealthy food items, but until I can help them, let me help you come up with some creative options that your kids will be proud to pull out for lunch! Because, let’s face it – we all get tired of sandwiches!
Main meal lunch box ideas
Leftovers. If you’re having one of your child’s favorite dishes for dinner, set some aside for the next day’s lunch. Many students don’t have easy access to a microwave for reheating meals, so I would suggest going this route only when you have a meal that will travel well in a thermos. Some ideal options would be: pasta, quinoa, soups, quiche, pizza or stir frys.
Breakfast. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t adore pancakes. Make a big batch on the weekend and freeze portions to take out when needed. Toss them in a thermos with maple syrup already added. Put a fruit salad along with it and some Greek yogurt, and your child will be the envy of all his or her friends! Once in awhile pack cereal. Oatmeal is a great thermos item, too.
Snack items. Cheese and crackers with some cold meat from home is a great substitute for those prepackaged processed items you find in grocery store delis. Add a hard boiled egg and some carrot sticks and dip and you have a wonderful, well-rounded meal. Just remember to add an ice pack and you’re good to go.
Let’s keep going with this list. What’s your favorite healthy lunchbox item that your child loves?  http://www.facebook.com/savingdinner
Did you know that we have great lunch menus? We know you will love them!

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