10 Fresh Brown-Bag Lunches for Kids

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FOOD STYLIST: VIVIAN LIU PROP STYLIST: MOLLY FITZSIMONS

Don’t let packing back-to-school lunches stress you out; we’ve got 10 fun and fresh ideas the kiddies will gobble up.

Safety First

Start by ensuring your little ones' lunches are safe from food germs. Here are our food safety tips for packing kids' lunches.

1.) Yogurt Parfait

Pack up yogurt, with small containers of fresh fruit and granola for crunch, and let kids layer them at lunchtime. Or try making the parfait ahead of time in a screw-top jar for a fun and healthy on-the-go lunch.

2.) Quesadillas

Give grilled cheese a makeover! Combine whole-grain tortillas, veggies and cheese. Melt in the microwave, slice, and voila - excellent finger food hot or cold.

3.) Sandwiches with Star-Power

Jazz up the kids' favorite sandwiches by cutting bread into fun shapes with cookie cutters, but save the scraps for the chef, they make great breadcrumbs and croutons.

4.) Souper!

Hot or cold soup along with a cheese stick and whole grain roll make a yummy and satisfying lunch. Plus, soup is a great way to get more veggies into the day.

Packing tip: Store soup in reusable container with a screw on top to avoid spills

5.) Mini Pies

Who wouldn’t devour chicken and veggies tucked into a bite-sized pie? These babies will take some extra time to make so cook up a big batch and store some in the freezer.

6.) Skewers

Kids love just about anything they can eat off a stick. Try veggies and dip, fruit and yogurt (for dunking) or this recipe for Spiced Chicken and Grape Skewers.

7.) Pasta Salad

It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, cheese and vegetables. Cut into small pieces and toss with vinaigrette and whole-grain pasta.  Try fun shapes like orzo, wagon wheels or fusilli.

8.) Pinwheels

Give cold cuts a delicious spin! Try Food Network Kitchen’s Ham Pinwheels.

9.) Nut Free

To keep students with allergies safe, lots of schools put the kibosh on PB & J. Try tasty peanut butter alternatives like soy nut or sunflower butter with jam on whole-grain bread.

10.) Stuffed Potato

Top a baked regular or sweet potato with fixings like salsa, shredded cheese, grilled chicken or broccoli and your kids will be the envy of the lunchroom.

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