Monday, August 11, 2008

School Lunch Packing 101

CC Note: All over Fayette County early this morning, the sounds of groans filled the air as moms had to start the daily grind of preparing school lunches. Here are some tips as you get your children ready to face the day at school.

(NAPSI)-Busy parents know the school year means a packed planner filled with everything from recitals to soccer games to parent-teacher conferences. As time gets stretched, they often fall back on routines, one of which is what they pack for lunch.

“Everyone needs some shortcuts to help during the busy school season, especially when it comes to packing a lunch,” says nutrition expert Bridget Swinney, M.S., R.D. “But it’s important to give your kids variety, make it fun and filled with favorites so you can feel confident your kids will eat their lunch and stay nourished throughout the day. Kid-favorite sandwiches always do the trick. For moms who want more sandwich options, Oscar Mayer has a 98% Fat Free Bologna with .5 grams of fat and 1 gram of sugar.”

Following are some tips to help parents pack a lunch they know their kids will love and they can feel good about sending in their backpacks.

Get Kids Involved--Help your kids get excited about lunchtime by including them in the process. Invite them along to the grocery store and have them pick out nutritious foods from each food group. They’ll be more likely to eat foods they picked out, and they might just learn about the food groups during the process.

Support the Sandwich Standbys--Remember the sandwich classics that your kids love and you know they’ll look forward to eating. For those concerned about sugar in their kids’ lunches, you may be surprised to learn that a sandwich made with Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna has only 4 grams of sugar, making it a kid favorite you can feel good about packing. Plus, the balance of nutrients it provides will help your kids feel full throughout the day.

Save Time--Use the weekends to think ahead about packing lunches. Cut up vegetables and fruit, premake sandwiches and stock up on healthy snacks so there’s minimal preparation in the morning. Alternate new combinations with kid favorites like bologna. Some varieties like Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna are made with premium beef and no fillers--it’s so easy it’s sure to be an adult favorite, too.

Make it Fun--Break out of a lunchtime rut by brainstorming creative ways to capture your kids’ appetites and attention. Encourage them to “play with their food” by using cookie cutters to create sandwiches in fun shapes or wrap their sandwich in a whole grain tortilla and cut into bite-sized pinwheel pieces. Of course, including a quick note or joke will brighten any child’s day.

Take a Dip--Kids love to dip their foods, so let them have fun with it. First combine an assortment of veggies like carrots, grape tomatoes and red bell peppers. Then include a dip of your choice like low-fat dressing, hummus or yogurt for some dipping fun.

For more lunchtime ideas, visit

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