Twinkies may be back on store shelves, but they are not the best thing to put in kids' lunchboxes. If your child's lunchbox needs a makeover, follow the Five Cs for tasty and healthy school meals.
Convenient – A package of string cheese is just as easy to toss in the lunchbox as a bag of salty, fatty potato chips. So is a box of raisins or shelf safe milk. Keep some single-serve shelf-safe milk cartons in the freezer – then nestle one in the lunchbox, and they'll keep the other items chilled until noon. Since healthy can be so easy, vow to pass on the junk.
Colorful – Research shows that kids eat with their eyes, and many colorful foods are healthy options like baby carrots, red grapes and bright green edamame. Buy the red or green tortillas for wraps. Or make some pasta salad with colorful corkscrew noodles.
Cut Up – Youngsters are much more likely to eat an apple (and other produce) if you cut it up for them. Especially if there is something to dip the wedges in like peanut butter or yogurt and honey. Try cutting a sandwich in four strips or little triangles. Or make a mini kabob with rolled up lunchmeat, grape tomatoes and chunks of cheese on a toothpick.
Cute – Use a cookie cutter to shape a sandwich or vegetable slices. Get some fun printed napkins at the dollar store. Draw a smiley face on a banana.
Cow – Embrace the cow. Dairy foods are packed with nutrients. Just one carton of shelf safe milk has 9 grams of protein and plenty of calcium and vitamin D. It's just the right beverage to help kids learn and play all afternoon.
For an entire month's worth of ideas for your lunchbox makeover, download the latest Cow Calendar.
From August 14 to September 10, enter the Lunchbox Makeover contest from Milk Unleased (www.milkunleashed.com) and Tetra Pak (www.tetrapak.com). How do you jazz up your kids' lunchbox? Submit a photo or description of your most creative recipes and lunchbox ideas for a chance to win. Hint: Follow the Five Cs above for a winning entry. Need inspiration? Visit Milk Unleashed on Pinterest.
Milk Unleashed is shelf safe, Grade A milk that doesn't require refrigeration until it's opened (no preservatives added) and can be stored in the pantry for up to six months without refrigeration.
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