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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 12, 2017

MyPlate, MyLunchbox

By Melissa Boncher, Hy-Vee Dietitian | Aug 10, 2017

For many of us, August signifies the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. As you start preparing to send your child off to school, now is a great time to start thinking about packing healthy lunches. There are numerous benefits to packing your child’s lunch. First, because you can choose the ingredients, homemade lunches can be healthier and more cost-effective than school lunches. Secondly, allowing your child to help in this process can lead to healthier relationships with food and improved eating outcomes. Lastly, packing a healthy lunch with your child can be fun!

Here are some tips for success:

1. A balanced diet includes all of the food groups. Use MyPlate as a visual to help you build your child’s lunch.

-Fruits: fresh, frozen, dried, baked or pureed

-Vegetables: fresh, frozen, or baked

-Lean protein: baked chicken, hard boiled eggs, beans or nuts (be aware of nut allergy regulations at your child’s school)

-Low-fat dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.

-Whole Grains: pita, sandwich bread, tortillas, wraps, pastas, rice, crackers, etc.

2. Get your child involved in the meal planning and lunchbox choices. Sit down with them and make a list of their favorite food items. Take your child grocery shopping with you and let them help you choose what goes into the cart. This promotes feelings of empowerment.

3. Make food fun:

-Cut sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters

-Make fruit/veggie skewers, sandwiches or even salads on a stick

-Make pinwheels by wrapping sandwich contents into a tortilla and rolling it

-Hide notes of encouragement or “I love you” in the lunchbox

-Create a theme for the day and have all of the foods tie into that theme

-Kids love to dip! Contact your local Hy-Vee dietitian for healthy dip recipes

4. Think outside the lunchbox -- don’t feel obligated to serve only typical lunch food items. If your kid loves breakfast foods, serve them a peanut butter waffle sandwich in place of a regular sandwich to increase lunchtime excitement. If your kid enjoys snacks, turn snack foods into a meal!

Lunchbox Inspiration

Chipotle Ranch Quesadilla and Pepper Boats

-Whole wheat tortilla with cheese, refried beans with  Chipotle ranch and mini peppers (scooped out with hummus inside) and a serving of grapes

Butterfly Bento Box

-Whole wheat bread with nut or seed butter, banana, honey, a clementine, chocolate chips and cucumber

Pizza Lunchbox

-Whole wheat pita with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, ham, mushrooms, bell pepper, finish with carrots, ranch dressing and applesauce

Burlington Hy-Vee on Angular (Available Mondays) *319-752-3657.

Mt. Pleasant Hy-Vee (Available Tuesdays) *319-385-2266.

Washington Hy-Vee (Available Wednesdays) *319-653-5406

Ft. Madison Hy-Vee (Available Thursdays) *319-372-5841

Burlington Hy-Vee on Agency (Available Fridays) *319-753-1616

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