Pack a lunch

Packing a healthy lunchbox is simple when you include each MyPlate food group, including Vegetables, Fruits, Proteins, Whole Grains and Dairy .  This approach will offer your child plenty of health choices at lunch time.

Here are some “lunch box safe” suggestions for each of these food groups and simple packaging tips that will keep your child’s lunch fresh and full of flavor.

my plate

Healthy Lunch = Vegetable + Protein + Whole Grain + Fruit + Dairy

Vegetables

  • Baby Carrots
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Celery
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Cucumber slices
  • Edamame
  • Green beans
  • Jicama Slices
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Red, yellow or green pepper slices
  • Spinach
  • Sugar snap peas

Preparation – Packing

  1. Wash vegetables under cold water
  2. Add a dipping sauce such as hummus or ranch dressing
  3. Add vegetable slices to a sandwich
  4. Keep Vegetables cool

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Peaches

Preparation – Packing

  1. Select fresh, dried or packaged fruits
  2. Choose canned or packaged fruits with no sugar or syrup added
  3. Wash fruits with cold water
  4. Most kids like cut fruit instead of whole fruit
  5. Keep fruits cool

Proteins

  • Chicken Salad
  • Ham
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hummus
  • Nut Butters (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower)
  • Refried beans
  • Roast beef
  • Sliced chicken
  • Sliced pork
  • Smoked salmon
  • Tofu cubes
  • Tuna Salad
  • Turkey
  • White or black bean dip

Preparation – Packing

  1. Slice leftover meats from dinner for sandwiches
  2. Roll up meats around a vegetable stick
  3. Make sandwiches the night before and refrigerate or freeze them

Grains

  • Boston Brown Bread
  • Brown rice cakes
  • Cinnamon Raisin bread
  • Graham crackers
  • Granola
  • Multi-grain bun or roll
  • Oatmeal – raisin cookies
  • Popcorn (air-popped)
  • Wheat flour tortillas
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole grain pasta salad
  • Whole wheat English muffin
  • Whole wheat pita
  • Whole Wheat pretzels

Preparation – Packing

  1. Use whole grain breads instead of white sandwich bread
  2. Try a tortilla wrap or flatbread to make a sandwich
  3. Mix it up!

Dairy

  • Cheese Slices, sticks or cubs
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Milk
  • Smoothies
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt

Preparation – Packing

  1. Choose low-fat or skim milk products
  2. Milk can be purchased at school at a very low cost. This is your child’s best bet to be sure the milk is kept cold.