By Catherine McCord

School Lunches: Easy and Economical Tips from

  |  Health Advice & Tips  

Here are a few bonus tips from Catherine McCord and on how to make school lunch fun, affordable, and good for the environment!

• Be balanced.

When you're packing your child's lunch box, make sure to have a protein (such as meat, hard-boiled egg, tofu, nuts, seeds, or beans), a carbohydrate (bread, pasta, rice, potato, corn), a fruit (fresh is the best but dried or freeze-dried fruits are good alternatives) and a vegetable (any veggies cooked any way will work, especially if you add a dipping sauce to increase the fun factor).

• Save on containers.

Instead of paper and plastic bags that get used once and then go in the garbage, pick a reusable container that's good for both your child and the environment. I love the bento style lunch boxes like the ones made by Planet Box and Laptop Lunches. Many of these containers may at first seem expensive, but when you consider how sturdily made they are and that they cost pennies over the life of the box, you may find it well worth it in the long run. That also goes for drinks. A durable stainless steel bottle is a huge savings compared to what you'll spend over the course of a school year on juice boxes or plastic bottled drinks. Fill it with fresh water every day and you're set.

• Think outside the (lunch) box.

Preparing school lunch should be something you look forward to every day....not dread. Be thoughtful and creative and serve things beyond the everyday PB&J. Rice and beans, pasta with pesto, or quesadillas are just a few simple, cost-effective ideas that can turn ordinary school lunch into a midday surprise your kids will love even more than the unhealthy, prepackaged alternatives. It will also have them thinking about mom every time they open their lunchbox. How great is that?!


Catherine McCord, mom to Kenya (4) and Chloe (2), posts her own quick, nutritious recipes daily at her acclaimed blog The ease of her recipes, which rely on fresh but minimal ingredients, make her blog a go-to destination for busy parents who want to make the most of their time and still feed their family well.


Also see: How to Make Easy & Healthy School Lunches


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