There’s no reason to rely on the same old brown bag lunch every day. Create simple, wholesome recipes and “out of the box” lunches to help beat brown bag lunch boredom and give you and your kids more nutritious choices.

Let’s face it, the main staple of most brown bag lunches is a sandwich made with lunch meat. In fact, according to ACNielsen research, lunch meat is purchased by 85 percent of U.S. households. With the new, great tasting sandwich meats on the market and some fun and interesting recipes and a few additions, you can easily take the boredom out of brown bag lunches.

Jackie Newgent, RD, CDN, recommends the following simple tips to give the brown bag lunch a nutritious makeover:

• Use bread alternatives. Prepare sandwiches using a different type of bread each day of the week. Try a flour tortilla, French baguette, flatbread or sesame seed bun. Use alternatives to bread, such as lettuce wraps. Or skip the sandwich or wrap idea altogether and make meat and cheese kabobs on toothpicks or small bamboo skewers.

• Spice up your sides. Pack imaginative fruit and vegetable sides. Add peanut or almond butter and raisins to celery to build “ants on a log.” Create a dazzling fruit salad by combining three or more colorful, flavorful fruits. Make a multicolored pasta salad from green, orange and red pasta.

• Keep it natural. Instead of using lunch meat with preservatives, try a more nutritious, great tasting alternative, such as Hormel Natural Choice Deli Sandwich Meats. They’re 100 percent all natural, with no preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors.

• Add some fun. There are other ways, besides switching up ingredients, to add some fun to your child’s lunch. Try putting an entertaining trivia question or educational fun fact on the lunch bag. Throw in stickers, a toy or an easy game. Use something besides the basic brown bag to hold the lunch, such as a lunch box or brightly colored sack.

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