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Brown bag magic: what to pack for your kid's lunch

Published: Aug 9, 2017

By Lisa Greene


If you’re a Tampa Bay parent, you have at least two questions right now:

How can it possibly be time for the kids to head back to school?

And what the heck am I gonna put in their lunches?

We’re here to tackle the second question with our second annual collection of back-to-school lunch recipes. All the recipes here are by Jamie Vespa, a former TGH dietitian who’s now assistant nutrition editor at Cooking Light magazine.

We’ve gathered recipes that are kid-friendly, but with a healthy twist. We have pasta (because all kids like pasta), foods that come in kid-size bites (think meatballs and muffins), and recipes with ingredients that kids love (watermelon, granola, and chocolate.) Many are recipes you can cook the day before and refrigerate for the next day.

Pick up a thermos and an insulated lunch bag along with your kid’s school supplies, and you’re ready to pack healthier lunches.

Main dishes

Low Fat Apple Bacon Gouda Mac and Cheese

Kale Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cashew Sauce

Mini Pumpkin Turkey Meatballs with Herbed Goat Cheese

Spinach and Basil Chicken Meatballs

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Festive salads

Watermelon and Tomato-Basil Salad

15-Minute Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

Crunchy snacks

Big Cluster Buckwheat Almond Butter Granola

Big Cluster Pumpkin Oat Bran Granola

Sweet treats

Raw Superfood Brownie Bites

Double Chocolate Beet Muffins

No Bake Peanut Butter Magic Bars

Whole Grain Peach and Coriander Muffins

Need more ideas? Check out last year’s list: School lunches 101: a week's worth of healthy ideas

Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, LD/N, is a former TGH dietitian who is now assistant nutrition editor at Cooking Light magazine. You can find more of her recipes on TGH Health News and her blog, Dishing Out Health.