•       School has started and so has the evening/morning ritual of packing lunches for the little ones.  No one knows better than mom and dad as to his or her child's likes and dislikes for meals.  Then why not include your little ones in the planning process of their packed lunches.  Here are few quick lunchbox tips:
     
    Make sure that lunch box foods are easy to eat, packed in easily opened packages and don't require much peeling or special eating utensils.  The lunch period is short an there are many distractions.
     
    Small children don't eat much at one meal.  Pack nutritious appetizers instead of a large sandwich or a large apple or banana.
     
    Small foods are easier for children to handle.  Cut sandwiches into smaller pieces, use tiny tortillas for wraps, small sandwich buns, baby carrots, and peel and cut fruit into bite size pieces.  Use cookie cutters to make sandwich fun shapes.
     
    Think about different types of bread for sandwiches.  Try whole-grain crackers, rice cakes, pita breads, mini muffins, small bagels. 1/4 whole-wheat tortillas. and raisin or cinnamon bread. 
     
    If your child likes the same thing everyday, go ahead and pack it as long as it is nutritious.  Introduce new foods gradually starting at home.
     
    Prepared, prepackaged meals from the grocery store are high in fat and sodium.  They can do in a pinch, but it is better to stick to a more nutritious plan.
     
    Fruit dips, bean dips, humus, and salsa served with baked chips, vegetables, and fruit are great lunchbox choices.  These suggestions contain a lot of fiber and vitamins.
     
    Remember food safety.  Freeze juice boxes the night before so it can act as a freezer pack to keep Johnnie's lunch cold.  By the time lunchtime rolls around, the juice will be thawed and his lunch will have been kept cold.  Keep thermos bottles clean to prevent food contamination for soups and hot drinks.
     
    Snack foods can be fun, tasty, and nutritious mixes of dried fruits, pretzels, raisins, and baked crackers.  Kids love munchies.  Try to avoid PEANUTS/TREE NUTS since some children may be allergic to PEANUTS/TREE NUTS.
     
    Make meat roll ups spread with cream cheese instead of a sandwich.
     
    The cereal bars of today pack a more nutritious punch than in the past.  Read the nutritional labels before investing a lot of money into these products.
     
    Last, but not least, let your child know you are thinking about him or her during the day.  Include a funny note, an "I LOVE YOU" message, a sticker, or wrap a dessert in plastic wrap with a ribbon.