School Lunch Ideas and Back-to-School Snacks from Land O'Lakes

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As summer winds down, parents feel their anxiety levels start to rise. Is it back-to-school shopping that has them rattled? An overloaded schedule stuffed with practices and activities? Not necessarily. Some parents say that coming up with healthy, but yummy school lunch ideas is one of the biggest challenges they face every day.

School lunch ideas from Land O'Lakes

Kids' school lunch ideas don't have to be complicated.

Wraps are perfect for lunchboxes. They’re easy and just a little different than a regular sandwich.

“Kids’ school lunch ideas don’t have to be complicated. School lunches should be easy for you to make and fun for kids to eat,” says Becky Wahlund, director, Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen. “These days, kids may have limited time to eat lunch too, so simple is good for them and for you.”

Many of the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen staff have school age children, so they’ve had to devise quick lunch ideas for their own families, like wraps. “We like to get creative with school lunches, but we’re busy just like other parents,” says Wahlund. “Wraps are perfect for lunchboxes. They’re easy and just a little different than a regular sandwich.” She suggests trying deli cheese and turkey with a little salsa to make a great-tasting wrap sandwich.

Bagels are also a great base for school lunch sandwiches. A multi grain bagel with veggies and flavored cream cheese can be a welcome lunch in the middle of a busy school day. Wahlund says adding whole fruits such as prewashed apples or grapes or trail mix, and convenient single-serve packets of tuna make an affordable, well-balanced meal. To keep cold foods cold, pack everything in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack.

Many parents want to know how to bridge the gap between school and dinner. “After-school snacks can help kids focus on homework or refuel before sports practice,” says Wahlund. “Fruit and cheese is a wonderful, balanced snack. If you have time to bake on the weekend, cookies or bars made ahead for weekday snacks are always a hit.”

After-school snacks can be savory or sweet, depending on your preference, and what you’re planning for your main meal. “The key is keeping things simple,“ says Wahlund. “And a satisfying after-school snack may buy you a few more minutes to get dinner on the table!”

For more great recipes, cooking tips and menu ideas, visit Land O'Lakes.com.

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Sarah McQuilkin
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