Healthy lunches — and a giveaway from Libby’s

***Congratulations to #5, Elaine! You were randomly selected as the winner of the Libby’s giveaway! Thanks to all who entered!***

Do your kids eat school lunch, or do you pack their lunch?

Although it’s much easier to just send them off to school at the mercy of the school lunch menu, I’m trying to be more prepared this school year for packing lunches to send with the two youngest boys. (Boy #1 would probably rather die right now than have his mommy pack his lunch. How embarrassing!)

The fact is, I was sick when I saw what we spent on school lunches last year. And that was just for TWO boys. We now have THREE in public school. And then when I factor in the fact that Boy #2 is so darn picky that I probably paid $2.50 for him to eat a roll and a carton of milk on many occasions, well, I don’t even want to think about it.

But my concern isn’t just in the cost of the meals; I’m also becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of the food they’re eating. I’ve always been a stickler about eating fruits and veggies, but I’m starting to become more wary of processed foods and things with a million ingredients. Part of the reason is that one of my boys has digestive and intestinal issues, and what goes into his body definitely makes a difference in his day-to-day health.

One way I’ve tried to make a difference in our nutrition is by serving more “whole” or “separated” foods (FYI, I’m no nutritionist, if you couldn’t tell), as in cut up fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat without a lot of doctoring or ingredients added, a sensible amount of lean dairy products and whole grains. So instead of making a hamburger casserole, I’m trying to instead fix things like cut-up chicken breasts on pasta with steamed green beans and grapes.

This approach actually works pretty well with lunches. Here are some of the components of a “cold lunch” that my kids seem to eat—and enjoy:

  • Whole-grain tortilla wrapped around sliced or cut-up turkey breast
  • Low-fat string cheese
  • Sugar-free and/or natural applesauce
  • Craisins or dried pineapple
  • Whole-grain bread with honey spread
  • Plain popped popcorn in a little baggie
  • Raw cauliflower, broccoli or carrots
  • Whole apple (I don’t cut it because they don’t like it to get brown)
  • Segmented oranges
  • Raw baby spinach (they like to eat it plain, like rabbits)
  • Graham crisps with dark chocolate (a good dessert)
  • Dry cereal in a little container, like Frosted Mini-Wheats or Multi-grain Cheerios
  • Grapes

I was contacted about doing a giveaway sponsored by Libby’s, and since school lunches were already on my mind, I thought it was a good fit. I didn’t realize, however, that Libby’s has, besides canned fruits and veggies, a product that was made for school lunches: Libby’s Jumbo Cups. Here’s the scoop:

  • Unlike the 4-oz. fruit cups currently on the market, Libby’s Jumbo Cups contain 6 oz. of fruit, offering 3/4 a cup of fruit toward your daily nutritional needs.
  • The cups are extra-thick and easy to open, minimizing spillage in lunch boxes, backpacks, or at the cafeteria table. That’s definitely a plus!
  • The Jumbo Cups are sold in 3-packs in 4 different varieties: Diced Peaches, Mixed Fruit, Diced Pears, and Cherry Mixed Fruit. I think Diced Pears would be my boys’ top choice, but they’d eat any of them.

I really wanted to try these out but was disappointed that I couldn’t find them at either of the two supermarkets I checked with in my area. So I’ll have to do a little more investigation to find out where I can buy these locally.

On to the giveaway: I have, courtesy of Libby’s, three packs of Libby’s Jumbo Cups AND this adorable bee lunch bag!

All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post and give me an idea of something else I can pack in my kids’ lunch! That’s it! Would you like extra entries? Sure, why not. You can receive one extra entry for each of the following:

  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave me a comment with the URL of your Tweet.
  • “Like” Libby’s on Facebook: and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
  • Follow @LibbysTable on Twitter and let me know in a comment.

I will randomly select one winner on Monday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m. CST. Make sure you leave an email address so I can get in touch with you to get a mailing address!


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