Taking the Stress Out of Lunchbox Meals

It's the time of year when kids are back to the classroom -- and parents are back to the kitchen for another year of lunchbox anxiety. But there's no need for packable meals to inspire stress. Here are simple lunches worth a spot in any brown bag, plus some time-saving packaged add-ins that parents can actually feel good about.

Main Meals

Punch up an everyday turkey sandwich with a layer of hummus spread and a mini whole-wheat bagel to hold it all together.

RnB_Pasta_Salad-011f.tif

RnB_Pasta_Salad-011f.tif

FOOD STYLIST: VIVIAN LIU PROP STYLIST: MOLLY FITZSIMONS

Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad (from Food Network Magazine)

Whole-grain pasta, filled with colorful vegetables and edamame, earns full marks for being both well-balanced and enticing.

PEANUT_SOBA_NOODLES_008.tif

PEANUT_SOBA_NOODLES_008.tif

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin ,Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Toss together buckwheat noodles, peanut butter and chicken for an all-in-one approach.

Food Network Kitchens recipe for a quick and easy taco lunch to go.

Photo by: Jackie Alpers ©Copyright 2012 Jackie Alpers - All rights reserved

Jackie Alpers, Copyright 2012 Jackie Alpers - All rights reserved

Your child's lunch box dreams just became a reality with tortillas, cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream.

Food Network Kitchens panko chicken nuggets in a lunchbox.

Photo by: Jackie Alpers ©Copyright 2012 Jackie Alpers - All rights reserved

Jackie Alpers, Copyright 2012 Jackie Alpers - All rights reserved

Add crunch without frying by calling in the panko breadcrumbs. Thread the nuggets on skewers or stuff them in a pita with lettuce and tomato.

Time-Saving Sides

True, whole and sliced fruit and veggies are always easy to pack, but there's nothing wrong with enlisting a few packaged goods to make your life easier.

Related Links:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Katie's Healthy Bites: Homemade Take-Out Meals

All this month we are Brown Baggin’ it at Healthy Eats. For those of you who eat out on a regular basis here are some healthy DIY options for your favorite cuisines.

Essential Healthy Lunchbox Meal Plan

Here are five days of kid-friendly, well-balanced meals to keep your little ones going strong all day.

Chilled-Out Takes on Comfort Food Favorites

Some of our most beloved hot comfort food favorites have ice-cold, chilled-out alter egos that are well worth your time this summer.

McDonald’s Is Swapping Out Happy Meal Toys for Books

Its Happy Meal Readers program in New Zealand offers the diners the delicious literature of Roald Dahl.

Take Your Breakfast Out to Dinner for a Rich Risotto

Try an oat risotto for this week's Chopped Dinner Challenge, and cook like a Chopped competitor at home.

Americans Are Cooking More Meals at Home, Eating Out Less

Are Netflix, pre-made meals and online grocery delivery to blame?

6 No-Cook Pasta Sauces That Take the Sweat Out of Dinner

You'll want these no-cook pasta sauces on hand when the temperature reaches an all-time high.

10 Beautiful Grain Bowls to Lift You Out of a Meal Prep Slump

Give your healthy eating plan a boost as we head into the second month of the year.