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School Lunches Made Easy

Pack a healthy lunch by breaking up your child's nutrition needs into these three key areas: protein, carbohydrate and fat. Then add color--think deep red, green, blue, orange and purple to make certain you're topping off that lunch with much needed nutrients. Here are some of our kid friendly top picks for each "category"


  1. nitrate free roasted deli turkey or chicken breast
  2. steamed and chilled edamame without the pods
  3. peanut butter, sunbutter and almond butter
  4. low-fat mozzarella sticks
  5. Icelandic or Greek yogurt
  6. pre-cooked and chilled meatballs made with 93/7 ground beef (we like to make these with the marinara sauce inside) for easy packing
  7. diced and baked chicken breast meat
  8. grilled cheese sandwich strips
  9. hummus
  10. hard boiled egg


  1. whole grain crackers
  2. whole grain pita bread
  3. pretzels
  4. popcorn
  5. fruit--apple slices, mandarin orange sections, berries washed and chopped
  6. baked green bean snaps
  7. banana chips
  8. corn tortillas
  9. English muffins
  10. baked potato wedges


  1. avocado
  2. olives
  3. peanut butter, almond butter, sunbutter
  4. low-fat mozzarella or Swiss cheese
  5. vineagrette based dressings and dips
  6. hummus
  7. Trail mix
  8. lean chicken or turkey
  9. hard boiled egg
  10. low-fat vanilla yogurt

Packaged pantry-friendly snacks (those marked with an * may require refrigeration):

Fruit canned in water peaches freeze dried strawberries, banana and mango raisins or applesauce Fruit juice that is 100% juice canned mandarin oranges in their own juice
Grains pretzel sticks oatmeal packets (look for minimal "added sugar") whole wheat pasta whole grain crackers (first ingredient should say "whole") light popcorn
Vegetables freeze dried snap peas chickpea puffs dried and flavored chickpeas (sold in the nut or chip aisle) tri-colored veggie straws packaged squeeze packs with pureed veggies (for younger kids)
Dairy* Powdered milk packets, flavored (typically sold in the cereal aisle) yogurt covered raisins yogurt bites freeze dried (for younger kids) low-fat cheese sticks 1 or 2% yogurt (opt out of candy flavored yogurts)
Edamame (frozen packets can be microwaved) lean turkey, ham or chicken chicken sausage links for those over 6 mos of age and clear of food allergies (consult with your  pediatrician): smooth almond butter, sunbutter or peanut butter hummus dip or black bean dip

Tips for Success:

Kids crave autonomy when selecting snacks. Offer familiar foods alongside "new-to-your-child" foods and keep portions small to avoid overwhelming them.

Create a special place where your child can self-serve him or herself snacks. Label snack bins with your child's name and keep them at eye level in your pantry or refrigerator to minimize distractions.

Involve your child in selecting and preparing snacks. Kids are more likely to eat what they make!

Need more personalized help with your child's snacks? Partner with one of our seasoned registered dietitians by emailing us at


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