Edible Rhody KIDS: School Lunch 101

[ 0 ] October 8, 2012 |

Welcome Fall! Edible Rhody KIDS is created in collaboration with Kidoinfo. Grab this season’s copy of  Edible Rhody, available at various locations around Rhode Island. Read “School Lunch 101.” Invite kids to be part of the planning process–learn about healthy food options (and what to avoid), minimize trash plus a list of resources, activities and books to share with your kids. Click on the chef’s hat for a theme-related recipe!

Edible Rhody KIDS: School Lunch 101

Lunch is a welcome break during the school day, time to hangout with friends, and an opportunity to refuel the body and brain.

TIP #1: Get to know your food. Learn to read the packaging. What we can’t pronounce, you probably do not want to eat!

TIP #2: Eat local–pack lunches using fresh foods from farmers’ markets or farm stands.

Tips #3: Try to eat whole grains–they’re a better source of fiber and more rich in nutrients.

TIP #4: Avoid foods with food coloring, artificial flavors and high-fructose corn syrup.

GO GREEN! There are lots of cool reusable lunch packing options, even Velcro sandwich bags, mats and bento boxes. Give yourself a point for every piece of trash your lunch produces–be the low scorer! Instead of single-use trash, go for:

  • Reusable lunch box
  • Plastic or metal reusable food containers (including small ones for dips/ sauces)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Reusable utensils
  • Cold packs
  • Thermos insulated container for warm foods


Make a menu for the week and grocery shop with an adult in advance. Select simple easy to pack options, prepare food ahead of time (wash lettuce, cut up vegetables, hard boil eggs, make soup), and plan on dinner leftovers that can be easily packed as lunch the next day. Print out a list* of food groups and circle your favorites (choosing from 3 to 4 different food groups). Click on the chef’s hat for more recipes!

  • Grains: whole-grain crackers, popcorn, baked tortilla chips, whole-grain graham crackers, fig bars, rice cakes, whole-wheat pita bread, dry cereal, whole-wheat tortilla wraps, pasta, corn muffin.
  • Vegetables: baby carrots, celery, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, edamame, broccoli florets.
  • Fruits: whole, sliced, or canned fruit (packed in natural fruit juice instead of sugar-laden heavy syrup), apples, watermelon, blueberries, bananas, kiwi, avocado, strawberries, plums, blackberries, grapes, raisins, dried apricots.
  • Dairy: cheese sticks, yogurt, low-fat milk, cottage cheese.
  • Protein Foods: hummus, peanut butter, almonds, deli meat slices, soy nuts, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, edamame


  • Cut sandwiches in fun shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • Pack trivia cards about movies, sports, books, math, science.
  • Name your creative lunch creations. Here are some of our favorites:

Robot: Use pretzel sticks to attach olives and/or blueberries to cubes of cheese in the shape of a robot.

Smorgasbord: String cheese, whole-wheat crackers, broccoli and cauliflower florets, light dressing, raspberries, slice of banana or zucchini bread.

Pizza Party: 1 slice leftover cold veggie pizza cut into squares, sliced cucumber moons with hummus, grapes, popcorn.

Heading South: Bean and corn salad, melon wedges, whole-grain tortilla chips, fresh salsa, cubes of cheddar cheese.

Monkey Time: Peanut butter, bananas, and honey on whole-wheat bread, salad, and apple slices.

Pig in a blanket: Local farmer hot dogs wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla plus cantaloupe and cashews.


Choose My Plate (www.choosemyplate.gov)
Choose My Plate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet and offers tips and suggestions about making the most of meal time.
Shop local
for reusable lunch boxes and storage containers at Craftland, Kreatelier, Whole Foods, and Bellani Maternity.


  • The Lunch Box: Packed with Fun, Healthy Meals that Keep them Smiling by Kate McMillian and Sarah Putman Clegg  (Weldon Owen, 2012). Lots of fun, easy and nutricious ideas to keep lunches tempting and tasty.
  • Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food by Lizzy Rockwell (Collins, 2009). An illustrated guide designed just for kids.
  • I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child. (Candlewick, 2003)
  • Food Play by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann. (Chronicle Books, 2006)
  • The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox: Easy and Exciting Ideas for Your Child’s Lunches by Nicola Graimes. (Duncan Baird, 2007)
  • Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches by Maki Ogawa and Crystal Watanab. (Quirk Books, 2010)


Category: food + recipes

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of Kidoinfo.com. She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

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