Some easy, healthy lunch ideas to keep your kids' minds moving

MILWAUKEE -- When heading back to school, you want to make sure you're packing a healthy lunch for your kids. Meijer healthy living advisory, Maribel Alchin, joins FOX6 WakeUp with three simple tips.

A new school year means the return of after-school activities, sports practices, homework, and packing lunches.  To make sure your child’s lunch offers both variety and health, consider using the 1-2-3 system to provide them the energy and nutrition they need to tackle the rest of their day.

1: Choose a lean protein and or dairy item

2: Add whole wheat or whole grains

3: Add colorful fruits and or vegetables

Use the simple chart as a template to plan lunches for the whole family for the upcoming week.  Establishing a go-to list designed with this system in mind sets the stage, but mix and match for new and fresh lunch combinations for everyone’s specific tastes.

1.    Protein/dairy 2.    Whole grain 3.    Fruit/veggie
Soy burger and low fat cheese Wheat bun Lettuce/tomato and 100% juice
Mozzarella cheese Whole grain English muffin with tomato sauce Pear, plum or apple
Lowfat Swiss cheese and turkey Whole grain wrap with lowfat ranch dressing Lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes
Lowfat sharp Cheedar and black beans Whole grain tortilla and salsa Whole kernel corn, bell peppers
Feta cheese and hummus Whole grain pita bread Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes
Lowfat cheese and shredded chicken Whole wheat pasta and lowfat balsamic vinaigrette Zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, bell peppers
Peanut butter or nut butters Whole grain bread Banana or apple slices
Lowfat cheese and deli turkey Whole grain crackers Snap peas
Roast beef and lowfat cheese Whole grain tortilla Spinach and bell peppers
Chicken salad Whole grain English muffin apple

Apple Zucchini Mini Muffin Bento Box
Serves 8

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl. Set aside.
    3. Mix honey, yogurt, egg, and vanilla in separate bowl.
    4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in zucchini and apple.
    5. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray and fill ¾ full. Bake 15 minutes, or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Remove from muffin pan and let cool.

    Source: Adapted from

    Nutrition Information (per serving): 141 calories, 1g fat, 24mg cholesterol, 247mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 5g protein

    Serve with hard-boiled egg, lowfat cheese cubes, and pear slices.

    Lunchbox Taco Salad
    Serves 4

      1. In a bowl, mix black beans, corn, tomato, cheese, and salsa. Gently stir in avocado. Serve in tortilla scoops.

      Source: Maribel Alchin, MBA, RD, LDN, Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, Dietitian and Personal Chef

      Nutrition Information (per 1 cup serving): 211 calories, 8g fat, 7mg cholesterol, 501mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 9g protein

      Serve with Mango cubes and low fat yogurt tube.

      Apple-Peanut Butter Sandwich
      Serves 1

        1. Use apple slices as bread. Spread peanut butter on each apple slice. Sprinkle one slice with granola and cranberries. Top with other apple slice to form sandwich.

        *Note: If allergic to peanut butter, try sunflower seed butter, almond butter, or soy butter.

        Source: Maribel Alchin, MBA, RD, LDN, Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, Dietitian, Personal Chef

        Nutrition Information (per serving): 319 calories, 16g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 72mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 8g protein

        Serve with Sugar Snap Peas, True Goodness® by Meijer™ Oatmeal Animal Cookies and Horizon Organic lowfat milk