Think Outside The Brown Bag

back to school blog pic

By Alex Hobbs, RD,LD

Its that time of year again…the kids are becoming more and more restless, the sunscreen stash has been wiped out, and backpacks and crayons are advertised more than bikinis and flip flops…that’s right, its back to school season! Ready or not, the kiddos will be off to the bus stop and hitting the books in no time. It’s a new school year so lets stop tormenting our little ones with monotonous soggy PB&J sandwiches. Lunchtime should be a time that your kid should look forward to, not dread, so lets step up our game and think out of the brown bag.

Providing your kids (and yourself) with a nutrient dense lunchtime meal is a must! It may be hard to get out of the ham sandwich rut you have found yourself in for the last few years, but I have full faith you can overcome it! The goal is to pack a lunch with a good protein source, complex carbs and fiber so you can make it to your afternoon snack without wanting to raid the vending machine. So how can you achieve this balanced meal for your kids and yourself? By trying some new ideas, of course!

Bye Bye bologna sandwich:

Try a whole wheat pita pocket filled with a homemade chicken salad made with greek yogurt, fill with spinach, cucumber, bell pepper and a pinch of feta cheese

Tex-Mex it up:
Make a quesadilla with two whole wheat tortillas and fill with protein (or leftovers) of choice, add black beans, low fat mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach, cilantro, and avocado. Grill in the morning (or night before) so quesadilla is crunchy and holds together.

Power Protein:

Make a quinoa salad by cooking quinoa as directed then add diced veggies such as bell peppers, garlic, sundried tomatoes, basil, spinach, red onion, cucumber, toss with a hint of olive oil and voila… a delightful protein filled salad

Punt the Potato Chips:
Say goodbye to potato chips and say hello to a low calorie popcorn. Bigger portion size + less calories = lunchtime success. Try any low calorie popcorn flavor; mix it up with a seasoning to add an extra punch to your popcorn. Try light kettle corn with a sprinkle of cinnamon

Fun Dip:
Pair your veggies with a yummy, low cal, high protein dip. Stir a dry ranch packet into low-fat plain greek yogurt for a healthy ranch alternative. Want something sweet? Try vanilla low-fat greek yogurt with a tablespoon of PB, hint of honey and sprinkle in cinnamon; slice up some apples and get dipping!

What About Dessert??
Just because you pass on the Oreos and tempting Pepperidge Farms cookies, doesn’t mean you can’t have dessert. Treat yourself to 4 Hershey’s Kisses for a satisfying indulgence under 100 calories

These are just a few ideas to get you started on a new and exciting year of lunch packing. Let your creativity soar to keep both your kids and yourself full and satisfied! Just don’t forget the ice pack!