Packing a lunch doesn’t have to be boring, showcasing the same old sandwich every day. The Meijer Healthy Living Team has some great ideas to make school lunches healthy, safe and fun.

1. Make it healthy: Pack a lunch with a variety of nutritious and fun foods for taste and visual appeal.  Include at least 3 to 4 of the 5 core food groups in your child’s lunch:  Protein (meat, fish poultry, beans, soy) low fat dairy, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

Recipe: Bistro Beef Wrap

1 Meijer whole wheat (whole grain) wrap or burrito size shell

1/4 ripe California avocado (or 1 pouch Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie pack)

2 ounces (2 slices) Meijer Deli Certified Angus Beef

1/2 cup Earthbound Farms Organic Leaf or Romaine Lettuce

Spread avocado (guacamole) over burrito shell.  To one side of the burrito add slices of roast beef and top with lettuce.  Tightly roll, starting at meat side, cut in half (or pinwheels) and secure with toothpicks or wrap in plastic wrap.

Serve with Meijer applesauce and milk

2. Make it Safe:

It’s always important to keep food stored at appropriate temperatures, especially ones packed in lunch boxes that sit for hours on end while children are in the classroom.  Use lunchtime essentials like insulated lunch bags, sanitizing hand wipes, ice packs and thermoses to keep lunches safe.   And for those with food allergies and special diet needs, Meijer offers a wide variety of healthy gluten free options and website resources on MeijerMealbox.com.

Very Veggie Soup

1 Can (14.5 oz.) Meijer Organics Vegetable Soup, add 1 Cup Meijer frozen vegetables such as cut green beans or Edamame and heat through.

Pre-heat thermos with very hot tap water or boiling water; let stand one minute then empty water.  Add hot soup and seal tightly.

To make it a meal, add:

Whole grain Goldfish Crackers

Meijer reduced fat string cheese

Fresh Michigan apple

Horizon Organic Milk box

3. Make it Fun:

Unveiling what’s for lunch is often a big to-do around the lunch table. The Meijer Healthy Living Team has tips to make your child’s lunch the envy of the lunchroom by simply making it fun with stickers, colored napkins, personal notes to your child, and large cookie cutters to cut sandwiches in fun shapes.

Lunchbox Taco Salad

Makes 1 Serving

1 cup Dole bag shredded chopped Romaine or Just Lettuce Blend

¼ cup chopped tomato (or Meijer grape tomatoes, halved)

½ cup canned reduced sodium black beans or kidney, rinsed and drained

¼ cup Meijer 2% milk reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup baked tortilla chips

¼ cup salsa

1. In a plastic container big enough to use as a bowl toss together lettuce and beans. Pack tomatoes, crumbled tortilla chips, salsa and shredded cheese in separate small containers.

2. At lunch, your child can have fun topping their salad with crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheese and salsa.

Serve with 2-3 healthier cookies:

Shortcut Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 17.5 oz. pkg. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie mix

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1 large Meijer egg

1/2 cup Country Crock Butter Blend

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, flax seed, butter and egg until soft dough forms.

3. Line baking sheet with parchment baking paper (if desired) and drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet.

4. Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Find more kid pleasing lunch ideas atwww.Meijerhealthyliving.com

BY: Tina Miller, MS, RD, Meijer Dietitian and Healthy Living Advisor