Ideas for the Lunch-Box BrigadeEvery mom or dad who makes lunches for kids knows the goals: avoid total jettisoning of lunch into trash by picky eater; hope she or he doesn't trade healthy apple for can of soda; nudge the menu past the old standbys before complete boredom sets in on Day 123 (kids need lunches, on average, 180 times a year). Here are a few strategies built around some core preferences.
Pizza + Carrot CrunchLow-fat ranch doubles as a dip for both pizza and veggies.
½ CL Pizzadilla + 10 baby carrots + 1 tablespoon low-fat ranch + 1 (4-oz.) cup unsweetened applesauce
Stats: 250 calories, 3.4g sat fat, 594mg sodium
The Pita PocketeerLow-fat Greek yogurt is the base for this tangy chicken salad. Chocolate kisses are perfectly portioned treats.
CL Creamy Chicken Salad (1/2 cup) with mixed greens in half a 6-inch whole-wheat pita + 1 medium apple + 4 milk chocolate kisses
Stats: 446 calories, 4.6g sat fat, 451mg sodium
Beefy Sammie + Fruit StickSandwiches can pile up sodium. Balance it with no-salt sides.
Sandwich: 2 oz. lower-sodium roast beef, lettuce, 2 slices tomato, 1/2-oz. slice white cheddar, 2 teaspoons light mayo on whole-grain bread + 2 pineapple and strawberry fruit kebabs + 1/2 oz. unsalted peanuts
Stats: 456 calories, 6g sat fat, 508mg sodium
Whole-Wheat PB&JAn old favorite gets a healthy spin with a WW bagel.
1 tablespoon peanut butter, 2 teaspoons jam on 1 mini whole-wheat bagel + 1 oz. whole-grain chips (about 16) + 1 small banana
Stats: 467 calories, 2.6g sat fat, 413mg sodium
For the RabbitsGive salad greens some oomph with lots of lean protein.
Mixed greens, 2 oz. rotisserie chicken, 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 hard-cooked egg, 2 tablespoons oil-and-vinegar dressing + 2 cups 94%-fat-free popcorn + 1 orange, peeled
Stats: 444 calories, 4g sat fat, 460mg sodium
Let's Get MediterraneanMake-ahead couscous can yield several lunches.
CL Couscous Salad (3/4 cup) + 2 tablespoons hummus + 8 whole-wheat pita chips + 1 cup fresh grapes
Stats: 430 calories, 2.2g sat fat, 715mg sodium
The Cafeteria ClubSave the cheese for the skewers, and opt for tasty guacamole instead of mayo for the wrap. Slice the wrap into medallions and skewer on toothpicks for less mess at lunchtime.
Wrap: 1 oz. oven roasted turkey breast, 1/2 oz. low sodium ham, 1 slice crumbled center cut bacon, 1 tablespoon guacamole on half a whole wheat wrap (such as Flatout) + tomato mozzarella skewer (cut one lower sodium part-skim mozzarella stick into fourths and skewer with cherry tomatoes alternately) + 8 vanilla wafers
Stats: 439 calories, 6g sat fat, 795 mg sodium
Lunch Box Recipes for Kids (or Adults!)
A healthy approach for the lunch bunch: Mix a lean protein with whole grains and fresh garden goods, then add a sensible treat.