Lunchbox Treats with a Twist

Tired of your kids turn up their noses at standard brown-bag fare? Add flavor to lunchtime with these healthy, tummy-tempting recipes.

As a new school year begins, parents and children are gearing up for mornings filled with last-minute wardrobe changes, homework checks, and mad dashes for either cafeteria money or brown bag lunches. If the typical bag lunch leaving your house in the morning includes foods high in salt, sugar and fat (potato chips, soda and cupcakes), you may be sacrificing a healthy meal for a quick fix. Alternatives high in protein and complex carbohydrates (peanut butter, cheese and veggies) will stick with your children and give them the brainpower they need to make it through a day of classes.

What’s more, these types of food don’t necessarily require hours of advanced preparation. With a little creativity and some good nutrition sense, you and your children can create snacks that are nutritious and delicious.

Tummy-Tempting Recipes

These recipes may not be quite as easy as tossing a bag of chips into a lunch box, but they will be much more satisfying for both kids and their parents. Here are a few recipes that require minimum preparation and will tempt children of all ages to uncover the secret to healthy snacking:

Veggie Skewers

(makes 4 servings)

This quick and easy recipe requires no oven preparation, although a knife is needed to cut the vegetables. You can adapt the recipe to include fruits by using any that are bite sized or that can be cut into firm, bite-sized pieces (grapes, blueberries or strawberries, for example).
1 medium-sized green or red pepper

1 large tomato

6 small mushrooms

1 small cucumber


Rinse the vegetables in cold water and place them on a cutting board. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, about the size of a quarter. Slide the sliced vegetables onto wooden skewers (or coffee stirrers), alternating veggies as you go. Serve immediately, or wrap in foil and store in the refrigerator.

Easy Trail Mix

(makes 5 servings)

Trail mix is a great snack because it includes a variety of foods that provide fiber, protein and sugar to satisfy all kinds of cravings.


1 cup of raisins
1 cup shelled peanuts

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup granola cereal

1 cup chocolate chips


Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Separate servings into zip-lock bags, or store in a tightly sealed canister.

"Cheesy Bread" 
(makes 4 servings)  

An excellent high-fiber alternative to potato chips, these fun-to-make treats require nothing more than a handful of ingredients and a toaster oven. This recipe is also great if made the night before and refrigerated.


2 whole-wheat pita pockets
1 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

seasoning, such as lemon pepper, basil or oregano


Pre-heat the toaster oven to 350º F. Using a serrated knife, halve the two pita pockets, so you have four, flat, round pieces. Cut these round pita pieces into strips, about 2 inches in width. Lay them on a baking sheet; sprinkle them with cheese and top with seasoning. Keep in mind that the more cheese you use, the less crunchy the pita bread will be. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the edges become brown.