Healthy Back-to-School Challenge: Day 3

By: Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.  |  Wednesday, August 17, 2011
How to pack a delicious, healthy lunch.
Take-along lunches are back in style. Packing your lunch saves money, encourages you to eat a healthy meal and can reduce waste. Use these 5 easy tips to transform your "brown-bagged" lunch:
1. Pick your container: Lunches packed with disposable items, such as plastic baggies and yogurt containers, create an average of 67 pounds of waste per year, per person, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Pack your lunch in a reusable food-storage container or consider investing in a bento box. Here are our favorite bento lunch boxes.
2. Get creative: Sandwiches and wraps always work well, but don’t forget less-typical lunch fare, such as roasted tofu, rice balls or pasta salad.
3. Think colorful: Typically a bento lunch box contains at least five different colors—but even if you're using another type of reusable food-storage container, fill it with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eating by color is a simple way to load up on nature's superfoods. For example, anthocyanins make blueberries blue and may help to keep your mind sharp.
4. Pack efficiently: Pack foods in small containers to control portion size and use reusable silicone cupcake liners or even lettuce leaves to keep foods separated.
5. Keep it cool: Refrigerate or pack your lunch in an insulated lunchbox with a freezer pack.
Find more delicious—and kid-friendly—lunch ideas here.