MyPlateSchool lunches and snack time stress me out. There. I said it. We are about to go back to school, and at my house, that means five days a week, for my two kids, I need to pack lunches that consist of more than just turkey thrown in between two slices of bread, and snacks other than pretzels. I know I can be more creative than that, and I truly want my kids to eat better than that. Plus, I am really into following the new MyPlate Guidelines, which recently replaced the food pyramid I grew up with (but never paid any attention to) to help make sure my kids learn to eat balanced meals.

So I was really excited when Cristeta Comerford, the White House Executive Chef, offered to show us how, with a little planning and, literally, just a little extra time, lunch can be healthy and delicious, unlike what I grew up on (sorry dad).

You see, Cris has a 10-year-old daughter, and although she may cook for Obama, his family, and heads-of-state from all over the world, she still needs to send her daughter to school with lunch every day.

Here's a peek as she creates a healthy, well-balanced, affordable lunch:

Watching a chef do it, it always looks a little easier, but really it was super simple. And you can easily prep this on Sunday night for two of the five school days, each week!

Chef in a Pocket

Whole wheat pita bread

Any kind of meat and cheese

Hummus

Lettuce

Combine all ingredients as shown.

 

Veggie Chips (or Sticks) With Hummus Dip

Carrots, cucumbers, celery, blanched string beans, tomatoes

Hummus

Slice and package as shown.

 

Summer Melon Kebabs With Yogurt Dip

Two types of fresh melon (for color variety), cut in cubes, or use a melon baller

Plain yogurt, some honey, a teaspoon of vanilla (mix together)

Package as shown.

 

Here is the takeaway: Make eating fun for your kids — presentation and variety matter! And so does getting them involved in the process. They will be more likely to eat the food you want them to if they have some say in what you are packing.

Plus, Cris also gave us another super easy lunch idea for those kids that are anti-sandwich!

Any other suggestions for great lunches/snacks that incorporate healthy foods?


Image via ChooseMyPlate.org