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Pack Awesome Lunches

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It's the last weekend before school begins for the Houston Independent School District. You need to take some time today to grab the kids and make a list of what they want you to pack in their lunches. Letting your kids provide input is just one way to prevent fewer lunch leftovers.

Make it fun

If you want to give your kids something unusual that is still friendly to their palates, consider packing foods in interesting ways. Instead of a sandwich, make rollups. When prepared, a standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich looks as artistic as a sushi platter.

Roll Ups

Sliced bread, crusts removed

Sandwich fillings or spreads

Meats and cheeses (optional)

1. Flatten a slice of bread by putting it between two sheets of plastic food wrap and pressing it with a rolling pin.

2. Repeat with as many slices of bread as you need to make the desired number of roll-ups. You will need one bread slice for every two roll ups.

3. Spread a thin layer of sandwich spread on the bread.

4. Top the bread with sliced meats and cheeses if desired.

5. Apply a second layer of spread on top of the meats and cheeses to help hold the roll up together.

6. Tightly roll each bread slice up and secure with toothpicks or wrap each snugly in plastic food wrap.

7. Cut the roll-ups in half, width-wise

8. Pack the rollups with the cut-side facing up in a shallow dish or lunch sandwich container.

Get their help

Another way to ensure satisfaction with the lunches you make is to get your kids to help with the preparation or packing. A child may be more willing to eat a sandwich if he or she helped to make it.

You can also get your child to help make salads or vegetable side dishes. This encourages them to be creative with fruits and vegetables and entices them to eat the results. Good options include the traditional ants on a log or apple wheels with peanut butter, but don't discount other possibilities such as broccoli salad you keep cool with an ice pack in the lunch box. Another side could be spaghetti squash with marinara sauce that you keep hot by sending to school in an insulated food container. Check out the video to see how to turn this vegetable into spaghetti.

Broccoli salad recipes

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