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7 secrets of highly successful school lunches

Stuck in a school lunch rut? Try these seven easy secrets to school lunch success.

By Sarah Henry

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Keep it simple

Think outside the traditional lunch box by offering several small (and healthy) choices that kids can use to create a whole meal.

"Kids love to get hands on and assemble their own meals,” says Hirsch. “That's one reason [packaged lunch kits] are so popular. Save money and make a healthier choice — make your own."

Consider packing three to four complementary ingredients, and then letting your child put them all together at lunchtime: a slice or two of whole wheat bread or a handful of crackers; chunks of cheese and sliced meats; grapes and cherry tomatoes; hummus with pita wedges or carrot and cucumber sticks; and apple slices (tossed in lime juice to retain color). A scoop of peanut (or other nut) butter and whole-grain pita pockets are another no-fuss option, as are lettuce wraps (baby gem or romaine lettuce leaves filled with cottage cheese or guacamole).

Sarah Henry is a Bay Area-based freelance food writer and the voice behind the blog Lettuce Eat Kale.