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15 Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas

— August 21, 2008 — Life-Stages
After a summer of eating freezes in the backyard, hotdogs at the ballpark, and marshmallows at the campfire, it's time to start getting healthy food choices back on the brain.

Back to school snacks and lunch ideas are plentiful on the web, but this gallery highlights some of the easiest suggestions for parents, and most enticing more children.

After all, packing a lunch box full of salads and organic wholegrain muffins is useless if you kid ends up throwing it out when he gets to school and hits up the campus vending machine at recess instead.

If health-consciousness is the top quality you're after when packing lunches (be it your child's, husband's, or your own) the top choice is still fresh fruits and vegetables. While veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are healthy, they stink, and it's unfair to pack that in anyone's lunch. Stick to items like cut up fruit (what person, child or adult, doesn't like watermelon cubes?) and raw veggies like carrots with a low-fat dip (I suggest homemade hummus!)

For quick items to throw in the snack pack, try something heart healthy like the Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds 100 Calorie Packs.

Yogurt with granola is a good option too. If you kids are pickier, why not customize their own cereal? Companies like MyMuesli (seen in the cluster) let you choose absolutely everything that goes in the mix. Even the pickiest kids will be able to concoct something they like.

Similarly, there is the build-a-bar company, YouBar, which lets you customize and create your own granola bars online.

Since it's unfair to make your child the only one in his class who doesn't get the occasional "junk" treat, include a mid-week, low-cal snack item, like one of Nabisco's 100 Calorie Packs. They're also a great solution for you and your husband when you get the craving for something salty like Ritz crackers, Planters Peanuts or Wheat Thins, or maybe crave something sweeter like Chips Ahoy or Teddy Grahams.

There are actually a range of companies that have 100-calorie snacks, including Cheetos, Hershey's 100 Calorie Pretzel Bars, Ian's Organic Cookie Buttons Double Chocolate Chip or Oreo Chewy Granola Bars 100 Calorie Packs.

For a killer protein boost, there are options like the Oh Boy! Oberto Beef Jerky 100 Calorie Jerky Bites.

Also seen in the slideshow below are items including Organic 479° Popcorn, innovative Soy Wrappers, among other things like fun lunch boxes.

The cluster includes cooking classes for children and teens too, in case you'd like to get them interested in taking responsibility for their own health.