10 Fresh Brown-Bag Lunches for Kids

by in Back to School, August 27, 2012

pasta salad
Don’t let packing back-to-school lunches stress you out; we’ve got 10 fun and fresh ideas the kiddies will gobble up.

Safety First
Start by ensuring your little ones’ lunches are safe from food germs. Here are our food safety tips for packing kids’ lunches.

1.) Yogurt Parfait
Pack up yogurt, with small containers of fresh fruit and granola for crunch, and let kids layer them at lunchtime. Or try making the parfait ahead of time in a screw-top jar for a fun and healthy on-the-go lunch.

Regular or Greek? Find out which yogurt wins our Food Fight

2.) Quesadillas
Give grilled cheese a makeover! Combine whole-grain tortillas, veggies and cheese. Melt in the microwave, slice, and voila – excellent finger food hot or cold.

Get more quesadilla recipe ideas

3.) Sandwiches with Star-Power
Jazz up the kids’ favorite sandwiches by cutting bread into fun shapes with cookie cutters, but save the scraps for the chef, they make great breadcrumbs and croutons.

4.) Souper!
Hot or cold soup along with a cheese stick and whole grain roll make a yummy and satisfying lunch. Plus, soup is a great way to get more veggies into the day.

Packing tip: Store soup in reusable container with a screw on top to avoid spills

5.) Mini Pies
Who wouldn’t devour chicken and veggies tucked into a bite-sized pie? These babies will take some extra time to make so cook up a big batch and store some in the freezer.

Recipe: Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies

6.) Skewers
Kids love just about anything they can eat off a stick. Try veggies and dip, fruit and yogurt (for dunking) or this recipe for Spiced Chicken and Grape Skewers.

7.) Pasta Salad
It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, cheese and vegetables. Cut into small pieces and toss with vinaigrette and whole-grain pasta.  Try fun shapes like orzo, wagon wheels or fusilli.

See our tips for creating light, flavorful and healthy pasta salads, or make Ellie Krieger’s Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad recipe (pictured above)

8.) Pinwheels
Give cold cuts a delicious spin! Try Food Network Kitchen’s Ham Pinwheels.

9.) Nut Free
To keep students with allergies safe, lots of schools put the kibosh on PB & J. Try tasty peanut butter alternatives like soy nut or sunflower butter with jam on whole-grain bread.

Make a sandwich extra special by making your own jam

10.) Stuffed Potato
Top a baked regular or sweet potato with fixings like salsa, shredded cheese, grilled chicken or broccoli and your kids will be the envy of the lunchroom.

Watch Alton make the perfect baked spud

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