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Healthy School Lunch Reminders

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Here we are, just a few weeks into the new school year, and we’re already getting in a rut with school lunch. I’ve already heard some of what you may have from your little lunch critics,”broccoli again?”, “but everybody else has…”,  “why can’t I have more sweet treats?”
Packing a healthier, greener school lunch is possible, and it can even be fun.! Here are a few reminders of ways to make it work.
Focus on fruits and vegetables, making sure they comprise half of your child’s school lunch (per USDA guidelines).  Fresh, organic, local food is ideal.  My kids love eating food fresh from our little organic garden, like tiny tomatoes and crisp bell pepper slices! Sending along a dip can add extra motivation to finish these fresh picks.
When necessary, use frozen fruits and vegetables, even if conventional, to ensure kids get enough servings.  I used generic frozen vegetables with a version of macaroni and cheese that offers great taste without artificial colors or flavors.  We received some mac and cheese samples from Annie’s during the Rock the Lunch Box project, and it’s a regular on our shopping list.

Shape up lunch foods to make them more fun.  We love the little heart-shaped utensil at our house that turns everything from fruits like watermelon to cheeses to vegetables like cucumbers into something adorable. We discovered that if you cut it into a heart shape, my kids instantly think it tastes better!

Finally, there are lots of ways to go greener with school lunch containers.  Not only are they wasteful, but who wants to keep spending money again and again for a bunch of disposable bags and napkins anyway? We’re always looking for stainless steel, BPA-free containers that we can wash over and over in the dishwasher.  Plus, simple cotton napkins are a frugal and easy green lunch solution.  While you can buy cotton napkins or even use dollar bandanas for napkins, you can also make your own.  Here’s my simple cotton napkin tutorial.  While organic cotton would be ideal for this project, any cotton napkin used over and over is still a greener alternative to lots of disposables.
Check out the Clean Couponing tab at FlourSackMama.com for tips and occasional giveaways.
Healthy school lunches and snacks are one of many back-to-school topics covered in a FREE ebook out now from Healthy Child Healthy World.  With leading scientists, medical experts and business leaders behind this organization, it offers the latest information that concerned parents and educators need to know. Get your copy today of Easy Steps to Healthy Schools & Daycares at this link.

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