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Lunch Alternatives to Kick Kids' School Meals Up a Notch

So long, sandwiches. Snazzy meals help beat those back to school woes. Try these nifty recipes, snack concepts – and the coolest lunchbox ever!

Say bye-bye to brown-bag blues. These easy-to-make lunches pack enough fun for even the pickiest of eaters, leaving them full and fueled for learning. Kick off the school year here in southeast Michigan right with these tasty surprises – and a seriously sweet lunchbox to stash 'em in.

Lunchbox Taco Salad

Easy to toss together on-the-go, this simple concoction, created by Stella Zedman and shared on Kaboose.com, requires just a bit of assembly for something totally out-of-the-ordinary.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup canned kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup tortilla chips

Directions

In a large plastic container, toss together lettuce and tomato. In a smaller container, stir together beans and salsa and seal tight. Pack sour cream in a separate container, and cheese and tortilla chips in zip-top baggies. Ready to chow down? Pour bean mixture on salad, add sour cream, sprinkle cheese and crumble tortilla chips!

PB&J Sushi Roll Bento Box

Turn a kid classic into an unexpected surprise with this clever little recipe from the Another Lunch blog.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • Your favorite nutty spread and jams
  • Small sides of fruits and veggies
  • Yogurt or pudding cup

Directions

With a rolling pin (or large glass bottle), roll out one slice of bread slightly overlapping the other until you have one long, thinner slice. Spread desired amounts of peanut butter and jam, roll up and slice. Place six rolls inside a square container and balance out the bento box with a handful of berries, carrots, and a pudding (or yogurt) cup. Yum!

More, please!

Scope out this recipe for Raisin-Banana Tortilla Sushi, fresh from the National Peanut Board.

Dippin' Dishes

Who doesn't love finger foods? Make mealtime more fun with dunkin' duos like pita bread slices, fresh veggies and hummus or baked corn chips and guacamole with fruit slices and chocolate dip for dessert.

The Coolest Lunchbox

Goodbyn's Original Kit – available in Green Apple Green, Blueberry Blue, Pineapple Yellow or Pepper Grey – has five compartments for any kid's juice box, sandwich, cookie and fruit cup storage needs. BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, made in the USA and 100 percent recyclable – what's not to love? Plus, this $25.95 kit comes with an 8-ounce water bottle and tons of fun stickers for optimal personalization.

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