Back to School Lunches

It’s that time of year again: new school clothes and shoes—check. School supplies—check. Immunizations completed check. Lunch bag—check. Oh, no? What do I need to put in the lunch bag that’s fast, healthy and affordable?

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Salad (romaine, kale, spinach)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • 100% vegetable juice
  • Apples
  • Dried fruit
  • Grapes
  • Oranges, Clementine’s, tangerines
  • Plums
  • 100% combination fruit and vegetable juices

Fruit

Grain

  • 100% whole grain bread, rolls, bagels, crackers
  • Corn or 100% whole wheat tortillas
  • Popcorn
  • Lean meats, poultry, tuna
  • Eggs: hard-boiled, egg salad
  • Soy: soybeans, tofu, edamame
  • Beans: black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto
  • Legumes, lentils, hummus
  • Nuts and nut butters

Meat & Protein

Dairy

  • Milk: fat-free or low-fat milk, soy, rice or almond milk
  • Yogurt: low-fat, Greek
  • Reduced fat or string cheeses made with 2% or less fat milk
  • Low-fat cottage cheese

To keep foods safe, invest in insulated thermos containers, lunch boxes and ice packs.

Resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org
Kids Eat Right www.kidseatright.org
School Nutrition Association www.schoolnutrition.org
The Healthy School Lunch Campaign www.healthyschoollunches.org
Nutrition Link www.fns.usda.gov/nutritionlink
Team Nutrition http://teamnutrition.usda.gov
Food and Nutrition Information Center www.fnic.nal.usda.gov