Back-to-school lunch ideas for kids of all ages

Elementary Eats
When my kids were little, I focused each lunch on three key elements: protein, produce, a fun treat

It can sometimes get tricky with protein, especially if your school lunchroom is peanut-free or you have a finicky eater. Try to think out of the (lunch) box, by packing a soup, like lentil, chicken noodle or black bean; whole grain pasta with sauce and cheese sprinkled on top; or leftover chili with a small bag of tortilla chips. (Invest in a good thermos to keep food warm as well as an insulated lunchbox with an ice brick.) You can, of course, go the standard sandwich route or get a little fancy by wrapping turkey and cheese in a tortilla, rolling it up and cutting it into sushi-like rounds. Hummus with veggie dippers (red and orange bell pepper sticks tend to be popular with kids) or yogurt with toppings in separate containers like fresh chopped fruit, shredded coconut or granola are two more winning ideas. My kids always enjoyed pinwheel tortilla wraps: Fill a wrap with turkey and cheese (or their favorite sandwich fillings), roll, and cut into rounds like sushi. A fun presentation always scores an A+.

Add a fruit or veggie side (sliced carrots, grapes, an apple or banana) and a treat they love to complete the meal.

Try these recipes:
Chicken Noodle Soup
Turkey Chili
Edamame Hummus
Crunch Bar