Liven Up The Lunch Box

Let's face it: Your kid probably has two or three school-day favorites that you pack over and over again (snore!). To shake things up, we've supplied you with 25 healthy and easy twists on popular noontime fare plus sides and snacks that you might have never considered. Follow our plan for an easy A.

Pump Up PB&J

Peanut Butter Lunches

Kana Okada

Peanut butter packs protein, healthy fat, and vitamin E. You just need to vary the jelly and white bread, says Katie Morford, R.D., author of Best Lunch Box Ever. If your child has a tree-nut or peanut allergy or his school is peanut-free, make these lunches with sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, or soynut butter.

Nutty Dip & Veggies

In a blender, mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 6 Tbs. apple cider, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon. Stir if using natural PB. Pack 2 to 3 Tbs. dip with veggie slices for lunch; store remainder in the fridge for up to 4 days. (216 calories, 16g fat)

Spread 1 Tbs. peanut butter and 1/2 Tbs. apple butter on a slice of whole-wheat cinnamon-raisin bread. Sprinkle on ground cinnamon. Slice in half; sandwich together. (251 calories, 9g fat)

Waffle Sammie
Spread 2 Tbs. peanut butter on a toasted whole-grain waffle. Smash 1/4 cup fresh raspberries with a fork; spread over peanut butter. Top with another toasted waffle and cut into quarters. (344 calories, 19g fat)

Banana-Nut Bread
Spread 1 Tbs. peanut butter on half a slice of whole-grain bread. Spread the other half with 1/2 Tbs. Nutella. Top one half with banana slices; sandwich together. (226 calories, 12g fat)

Fruity Pinwheels
Cut a 7 1/2"x 10" whole-wheat lavash or flat bread in half crosswise. Spread on 2 Tbs. peanut butter, top with 1/4 cup finely chopped apple or pear and 1 tsp. honey. Roll; cut into 4 pieces. (277 calories, 17g fat)

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