RECIPES: To-Go Snack Ideas & Lunch Tips

The Detroit News

Convenience comes with a price - even when packing kids' lunches.

It's easy to throw in a Lunchable and a snack bag of pretzels, but is it worth the cost?

For the most part, no, with items we checked out at the grocery store, ranging from tiny fish-shaped crackers to sliced cheddar cheese.

Log in below for some lunch-packing tips and some after school snacks kids can make.


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                                                         Lunch Packing Tips

1. Involve your kids in deciding what to pack >> This can start with a family trip to the grocery store. Encouraging kids to pick items and compare nutrition facts can help them better understand what they're eating and how much it costs.
If you can't bring them to the store with you, ask them at night what they liked about lunch, or didn't like. Refrain from, "Did you eat your lunch today?" Start by telling them what you liked about your lunch to get them talking.

2. Make your own "Lunchables" >> It might not have the label, but it's healthier to pack your own whole grain crackers, meats and cheeses. In general, steer clear of most processed foods.Compiling it in a bento box might even make it look more fun than the brand-name snack. Send finger foods such as string cheese, trail mix and soy nuts. Keep in mind that sandwiches, yogurts and other foods needing refrigeration should be packed with refreezable gel packs in insulated lunch bags. That can be a problem, particularly for middle-schoolers concerned about how a lunch box looks.

3. Cook foods ahead of time so it's not a nightly chore >> The more you can prepare over the weekend, the better your life will be. Soups are a favorite for many kids that are easy to make in advance. Just be sure to have a container that will keep it warm until lunchtime. Package foods in baggies for the week ahead, such as fruits and vegetables.

4. Focus on aesthetics >> Kids are more likely to eat colorful foods, which tend to be healthier anyway. Try to do a rainbow of colors in your kid’s lunch.  For fruits and veggies, bring kids to farmers markets to learn what's in season when.

5. Personalize it >> Adding a note makes it cute. A midday smile might be just what your child needs while munching on his PB&J.