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Back-to-School Lunches

And Getting Back Into That “Zone”

by Bobbie Ames | Food and Entertainment Editor

As the lazy days of summer come to an end, it’s time to put your back-to-school routine in overdrive. Focus on delicious, nutritious school lunches that fill the kids’ bellies and give them fuel to function. Assemble them the night before to avoid early morning stress, and be sure to include food you know they like (there’s nothing worse than lunches that get tossed in the trash). Your best bet? Have the kids help you!

Engaging your tweens or teens will also help them become independent adults. After all, you will blink and they will be off to college and managing their own meals.

Shorten your preparation time with these savvy school lunch tips

•˙Freeze a disposable water bottle the night before so it will still be cold at lunch time. It does double duty as an ice pack to keep everything cool.

• Purchase the proper containers: a thermos for hot foods, compartmentalized containers for fruits, nuts and cheeses, mini plastic squirt bottles for salad dressings and condiments.

• The cost may be a bit higher, but consider pre-packaged, individual serving sizes of hummus, guacamole, mozzarella, brie, carrots, apples, pre-made salads and sandwiches all readily available at any grocery store.

There is nothing wrong with a sandwich, but expand the lunch menu and try some of these easy, nutritious and delicious lunch items.

• Mozzarella, grape tomato and basil salad (cut up ingredients, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with lemon and olive oil), sliced salami/prosciutto and bread

• Hummus, pita chips, cubes of feta cheese, sliced cucumbers and carrots, cubes of turkey breast

• Guacamole, tortilla chips, Spanish rice (rice, corn, black beans), fajita chicken (left over from dinner)

• Sliced steak (leftover from dinner), crusty bread, provolone cheese and arugula sandwich

• Turkey chili in a thermos with grapes on the side

• Soup in a thermos with crackers and cheese on the side

• Chef salad and a small bag of nuts

• Greek yogurt, mini plastic bottle of honey, granola, nuts and fresh fruit

If you decide on a sandwich…

• Fight off sogginess – wrap the bread and cheese/meats separately and include a miniature squirt bottle of your kid’s favorite condiment.

• Increase the vegetables – crisp raw vegetables on a sandwich are not only healthy but delicious. Include a quick slaw (shredded carrots, purple cabbage and radishes dressed with vinegar and oil) in a separate container to be added to the sandwich at lunch time.

• Increase the fresh factor – add peppery arugula or basil to sandwiches for something new and fresh.

Talk food to me at Bobbie@goodlifefamilymag.com

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