It's time for children to return to the classroom.  This means you either send them on their way with money to buy lunch or they carry their food with them.  Some parents pack lunches for their kids; others let the children do it themselves.  To help you, we turned to child nutrition expert and food professionals for some tips what to pack and how to get your child to eat lunch.

Don't get too fancy:  You want to pack foods familiar to your child.  This is not the time to introduce something new.  You'll have a better chance of getting your child to try kiwi or jicama for the first time if you introduce it at a meal eaten with the rest of the family.

When packing lunches for young children, keep portions small and keep it interesting.  Try cutting sandwiches into shapes such as dinosaurs, hearts or diamonds (also see this idea). 

Consider allowing children to have chips and treats because it may help kids feel like they "fit in" with the other children at school.  However, insist that they eat well balanced meals at home. 

Children also like to have something they can share or trade.

For a healthy, fun treat, try peanut butter spread on and celery and dotted with raisins - a selection better known as "ants on a log" because of the way it looks. 

Let children make their own tuna fish salad that included ingredients like dill pickle relish, onions, celery, fresh lemon and lime juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Left over grilled vegetables from dinner the night before are a good option.  Use them as a sandwich filling with hummus or cheese.

Include a small plastic container of salsa or low-fat dip to eat with chips.


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