Thinking Outside the Lunchbox

Until school lunches improve, the healthiest option is most likely the one you pack yourself. If peanut butter and jelly are losing their luster, consider some of these other options. Remember, packaging is everything; save take-out containers or invest in a range of plastic containers to keep the lunch intact and delicious-looking.


Whole grain flat bread
Turkey slices
Lettuce and sliced tomato (optional)

Make a wrap sandwich as usual (go easy on the mayonnaise!), rolling it up tightly and securing it with several toothpicks. Slice the sandwich into two-inch segments, making sure each one is secured with a toothpick. Put the slices back together and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, or lay them out in a plastic sandwich box.

If you don't have flat bread, use regular whole-grain bread, crusts cut off, flattened with a rolling pin.

Try peanut butter and jelly, or any other favorite sandwich.


    Kabobs are fun to hold and make a great presentation for fruits and vegetables. Try these combos:

    • Cherry tomatoes and snap peas. Also try a little square of cheese or small mozzarella balls between the veggies.
    • Rolled turkey slices and chunks of cucumber.
    • Pineapple and cantaloupe; watermelon and grapes.

    Do It Yourself

    Spreading, cutting and assembling can make eating more fun.

    • Kiwi cup: Pack a plastic knife and spoon. Children can cut off the top of the kiwi and spoon the fruit out like a dessert cup.
    • Hummus and carrots can be packed with a knife and instructions to spread or dip. Also try nut butters and apple slices.
    • Pistachios: This nutrient-rich nut is a favorite for many kids, and they love to split the shells themselves.


    Pasta, chicken, pizza, takeout - if they will eat it, you should pack it. Use common sense (and ice packs, or a frozen bottle of water) for food safety.