Shake up lunch with these healthy choices

A couple of weeks into the school year, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are already getting old.And even if kids buy lunch at school, they might begin thinking about the chicken nuggets and pizza instead of the salad, says Dr. Catherine McPhee, who practices with Lifetime Health Medical Group. So what's a parent to do to keep lunchtime and after-school snacks on the healthy side?First and foremost, she says, is to keep talking about healthy choices and make sure they're available at home. Teach kids how to make smoothies for an after-school snack or leave healthy sandwiches in the refrigerator.Some of McPhee's sandwich ideas: cold-cut rollups with whole wheat tortillas, and whole grain cracker sandwiches filled with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter and jelly. Vegetables with dip is also an option.She also says to make sure that plenty of healthy drinks, mainly cold water, are available after school and that soda pop is not the first thing the kids see."Lunch is never going to be perfect, but the goal is to do the best we can and then make sure children get that extra serving of fruits or vegetables at home that they may have missed during the day at school," she says. "And, I always suggest fresh food over food that comes from a jar or box. If parents follow that at home, it makes a slightly less-healthy school lunch not as detrimental to the child's overall nutrition."Here are some more sandwich ideas.Includes reporting by The Associated Press.Cucumber Hummus Sandwich3 tablespoons hummus 1 piece naan flatbread1 tablespoon honey small cucumber, slicedSalt and ground black pepperSpread the hummus over half of the naan. Drizzle the honey over the other half of the naan. Arrange the cucumber slices over the hummus, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the naan in half to form a sandwich.Ham Pinwheels3 tablespoons vegetable cream cheese spread1 rectangular lavash flatbread3 slices deli ham crater sliced roasted red peppersSpread the cream cheese over the lavash. Arrange the ham over the cr! eam chee se, leaving 1 inch of cream cheese exposed on each end.Arrange the roasted red peppers across one end. Starting with the end that has the roasted red peppers, roll up the lavash. Use the cream cheese at the other end to hold the roll-up together. Trim the ends and slice the roll-up into 1-inch-thick slices to form pinwheels.Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Sliders crater cooked broccoli, chopped crater jarred Alfredo sauce6 small baguette slices crater cooked chicken meat (such as from a rotisserie chicken)3 slices mozzarella cheeseIn a small bowl, mix together the broccoli and Alfredo sauce.Arrange the chicken over 3 of the baguette slices. Top with the broccoli Alfredo mixture. Top with a piece of cheese, cut to fit, and the remaining bread.


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