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Pick Up This Book: Best Lunch Box Ever

As any mom who has ever packed lunches for her kids--or even a single woman packing one for herself--knows, brown bagging takes some creativity to be flavorful, interesting, and even healthy day in and day out. But DIY lunchtime is in again, and Katie Sullivan Morford's new book, Best Lunch Box Ever, is coming to the rescue of sad lunch sacks everywhere.

The subtitle of Morford's new book is "Ideas and Recipes for School Lunches Kids Will Love." But I have to be honest: This no-kid working woman loves the ideas, too. They're creative yet reasonable, ethnic but not esoteric. They're also simple and can be repeated Monday through Friday without much effort in your already-busy a.m. hours.

Recipes don't come with nutritional information, but they're all really reasonable. Her Six Steps to a Superb School Lunch are spot on: Start with the main course; add a fruit; add a vegetable; include a satisfying side or snack; don't forget a drink; and surprise them with an occasional sweet or loving touch. They're simple reminders for making your kids' lunches well rounded and fun.

I tried the Asian Lunch-Box Slaw (p. 56) for lunch this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. The homemade dressing is bright and vibrant; the combination of cabbage, bell pepper, green onions, and cilantro is crisp and fresh. It's better than most salads I bring to work, and I managed to make it from some leftovers, which eliminated food waste. A win-win!

Bring this book home, and let your kids flip through it to pick out a few lunches for them to try. Then send them on their way with something they'll love so much, they won't dare swap it for a plain ol' ham and cheese sandwich.

How do you keep your kids' lunches fun and flavorful?