Easy everyday lunches for back to school

Michele Borboa, MS

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With summer quickly waning and back to school madness beginning, now is the time to start planning those brown bag (or ecofriendly bag) lunches for your kids. Here are a few easy everyday back to school lunch ideas that will give your kiddos a delicious and balanced midday meal.

Tuna pita pocket

Turkey, Cheese, and Spinach Spirals

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-inch) whole grain tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 5 to 6 leaves baby spinach
  • 1 to 2 thin slices all natural turkey
  • 1 thin slice provolone cheese

Directions:

  1. Place the tortilla on a cutting board and spread it with mayonnaise,then lay spinach in a single layer on top.
  2. Lay the slices of turkey and cheese on top and roll the tortilla into a roll, seam-side down.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut wrap crosswise into 5 to 6 spirals. Place the rolls in a small container that holds them together snugly to keep spirals from unrolling. (If making ahead, refrigerate.)

Lunchbag extras:

Watermelon: Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut a watermelon slice into fun shapes.
Carrots: Cut a carrot crosswise or at a diagonal into coins.
Milk: Fill a 4- to 6-ounce sealable juice cup with milk.

Tuna Salad in a Pita

Currants and walnuts give this tuna salad natural sweetness and crunch.

Makes 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5-ounce) can sustainable albacore tuna (such as Sustainable Seas)
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise made with olive oil (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 green onion, sliced (green and white part)
  • 1 small celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish (or more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pita pockets
  • 2 leaves lettuce

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, currants, walnuts, green onion, celery and relish. Seaon with pepper.
  2. Open each pita pocket and line one side with a lettuce leaf. Scoop the tuna salad into the pitas being sure not to overfill them.
  3. Set each pita in a sandwich container that will keep them from getting smashed.

Lunchbag extras:

Broccoli: Lightly steam florets until just tender and pack with a small container of low fat dressing.
Grapes: Place green and red grapes in a small container.

Hummus and Baked Crackers

When you don’t have time to whir your hummus or bake your own crackers, turn to the healthiest store bought brands to give you a fast, easy school lunch.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

Directions:

Pack hummus and crackers in separate containers.

Lunchbag extras:

Olives: Fill a small container with pitted olives (they're fun for the kids to put on the ends of their fingers for easy eating).
Sweet pepper: Cut 1/4  of a red bell pepper into strips.
Orange: Fill a small container with fresh orange segments or canned mandarin oranges (drained).

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Michele Borboa, MS
Michele Borboa, MS is a contributing editor for SheKnows.com specializing in health, fitness, and all things food. She is a veteran health and fitness professional, personal chef, and mom in Bozeman, Montana. She is also the author of the time-saving cookbook Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy (Fair Winds Press, July 2011). You can contact Michele at michele.borboa@sheknows.com or give her a tweet at http://twitter.com/micheleeborboa.