Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –

We’ve come a long way since PB&J or bologna sandwiches, so why still pack those for school lunch when there are so many more exciting options? There are colorful, nutrient-rich combinations to satisfy someone of any age’s taste buds. Whether your children are in school or you are a big kid yourself, feeding the brain properly makes for better school (and work) performance*

Snack Smarter This School Year!

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Try these packable lunch ideas, including entrees and side dishes, that don’t need reheating (but may benefit from an ice pack or hot thermos):

Snack Ingredients
Wraps Option 1: Turkey and provolone with sprouts and red pepper in a spinach tortilla, spread with honey mustard or guacamole
Option 2: Roast beef and cheddar with romaine and tomato in a wheat lavash, spread with horseradish sauce or mayonnaise
Pasta salads Option 1: Macaroni, chunk light tuna, peas, onion, and cherry tomato halves, tossed with herb vinaigrette
Option 2: Farfalle (bowtie), feta cheese, pine nuts, diced cucumber, and sun dried tomatoes, tossed with pesto sauce
Bento box Option 1: Edamame, granola bar chunks, cheese wedges, and carrot sticks
Option 2: Rolled ham, sliced hard cooked egg, pretzels, and coleslaw
Dips Option 1: Hummus with pita chips, sugar snap peas, and zucchini & orange pepper strips
Option 2: Tzatziki sauce (or ranch mixed in plain Greek yogurt) with falafel and broccoli crowns
Option 3: Sunflower seed butter with cinnamon raisin bagel bites and celery
Casseroles Option 1: Penne, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, lean ground beef, basil, and olives topped with Parmesan cheese
Option 2: Black beans, quinoa, corn, onion, garlic, cilantro, and enchilada sauce, topped with shredded cheese

Add a fruit and a drink to these, and you’re good to go!

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Dietary Habits Are Associated with School Performance in Adolescents. SY Kim, et al. Medicine. 2016 March; 95(12):e3096.

The Association between Health Behaviours and Academic Performance in Canadian Elementary School Students: A Cross-Sectional Study. JD McIsaac et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015 November; 20; 12(11): 14857-14871.

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