Northwest NEWS

August 26, 2002

Home & Garden

Dining In: The Perfect Lunchbox

It's not uncommon for parents to give a great deal of time and thought to packing a healthy lunch for their children only to find out later that some or all of it ended up in the trash.
   All it takes is an unfamiliar food, funny smell, soggy sandwich bag or one negative comment from a friend or peer for that well-packed lunch to be discarded.
   Lunch Fun —
   It's Not
   All About Food
   Parents should look for ways to entice their children to eat their lunch—and enjoy every bit of it.
   Try these fun and helpful suggestions:
   Instead of packing a plain ice pack to keep your child's lunch fresh and cool, add a fun-shaped ice pack that can be purchased at your local supermarket or mass merchandise store.
   Shapes include a flower, football, baseball or butterfly. Just pop these fun shapes in the freezer in the evening and they'll be ready for the morning's lunch-packing.
   Pack foods in compartmentalized containers or illustrated plastic sandwich bags.
   Include a sticker, joke, riddle or poem. It will bring a laugh and a smile to your child during the day.
   Send a "word-of-the-day" with a definition. It's not only fun, but adds to your child's vocabulary.
   Turkey Rolls
   2 flour tortillas
   2 tsp. mayonnaise
   2 slices thinly sliced deli turkey
   1/2 c. shredded lettuce
   2 Tbsp. shredded cheese, any type
   Lay out tortillas. Spread with mayonnaise. Layer turkey slice, lettuce and cheese on tortillas. Roll up and wrap.
   Servings: 2
   Nutritional Information per Serving: 218 calories, 14g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 9g fat
   Fresh Fruit Dippers on a Stick
   If you want your kids to enjoy their fruit, pack this in their lunch along with some yogurt to use as a dip.
   1/4 pound seedless grapes
   1 c. pineapple chunks
   3/4 c. strawberries
   1/2 c. blueberries
   1/2 c. raspberries
   Wooden skewers
   Lowfat cup yogurt, any flavor
   Thread fruit on wooden skewers, alternating types of fruits. Pack skewers and yogurt cup together in lunchbox.
   Servings: 4
   Nutritional Information per Serving (Fruit Dippers): 79 calories, 0g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 0g fat
   Nutritional Information per Serving: Lowfat Cup Yogurt): 110–120 calories, 5g protein, 20–21g carbohydrate, 1.5g fat
   Chinese Crunch
   2 c. chow mein noodles
   2 c. rice square cereal
   1/2 c. peanuts
   1/4 c. oil
   2 tsp. soy sauce
   1/8 tsp. garlic powder
   Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine noodles, cereal and peanuts in a 9"x13" baking pan.
   In small bowl, combine oil, soy sauce and garlic powder. Sprinkle over noodle mixture.
   Toss well to coat. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Cool. Keep prepared mixture in airtight jar or container until ready to use.
   Servings: 8
   Nutritional Information per Serving: 198 calories, 4g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 15g fat
   Chocolate Chip Cookies
   2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
   1 tsp. baking soda
   1 tsp. salt
   1 c. (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
   3/4 c. granulated sugar
   3/4 c. packed brown sugar
   1 tsp. vanilla extract
   2 large eggs
   2 c. (12-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
   1 c. chopped nuts
   Preheat oven to 375°F.
   Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
   Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
   Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
   Makes about 5 dozen cookies
   Pan cookie variation:
   Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
   Recipes courtesy of Family Features