Packing School Lunches

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With all of the processed food, allergies and hunger pains kids have these days a boring, uninspiring or less than nutritious lunch just won’t cut it this school year.  Julie K0nnkle, BJ’s Wholesale Club lunchbox expert, shows us how to make a kid’s lunch go from blah to oohh la la.

Spice Up the Sandwich
• Reinvent the Sandwich – Sandwiches are the quintessential lunchbox staple, but there are so many simple ways to sneak in nutrients while providing variety.
o Nutritional Nuts: Many schools have banned the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich due to allergies. Substitute with delicious cashew or almond butter, and top with fresh fruit slices like bananas or strawberries.
o Pump up the Protein: Use hummus instead of processed deli meat. It`s full of protein and you can add slices of avocado and tomato plus lettuce for crunch.
o Sweet and Savory: Switch up your sandwich by adding a surprise ingredient like fruit. Take two slices of wheat bread, add a few tablespoons of cottage cheese and sprinkle on pineapple chucks and blueberries.
o Last Night`s Leftovers: Use leftover chicken or purchase a rotisserie chicken and add lettuce, tomatoes and easy microwavable turkey bacon for a protein-packed BLT.

Surprise Snacks
• Eat with your eyes: Kids eat with their eyes so choose colorful fruits and veggies. And fresh is always best!

• Kids love playing with their food: Healthy dips and yogurt are great choices for the lunch box because children love eating with their hands.

• Serving sizes: All types of snacks such pita chips and natural popcorn can be found in easy to send to school small packages. You can also create your own snack bags when purchasing snack items such as organic banana chips and gluten, nut and soy free BJ`s Wholesale Club fresh baked cookies.

• Know your child`s schedule: Choose snacks that are low in saturated fat and sugar and high in nutrients like low sugar yogurt, nuts, colorful veggies like carrot sticks, red, yellow or green bell pepper strips, fruit salad, cubes of low fat cheese, and guacamole with RW Garcia Organic Tortilla Chips.

Stay Hydrated
• Water: Kids should have a bottle or two of water for the day. Send an individual Crystal Light packet for your child to bring with their water bottle. They can create their own drink and drink flavored water instead of juice.

• Milk vs. Juice: Milk has almost 8 times the protein than a juice box. If you send a juice box send healthy options made with fruit and vegetables or 100 percent juice.

• Smoothie Style: For those who don`t like to eat their veggies make a fruit smoothie and add celery, carrots or kale. Kids won`t even taste it!

Last but not least, add the final ingredient to your child`s lunch; a loving napkin note.