Get Out of the Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly Rut

Bridget Swinney, dietician and author of “Healthy Food for Healthy Kids” (Meadowbrook Press) suggests keeping some tips in mind when planning packed lunch menus. “Choose foods with a variety of colors and textures, and choose flavors that complement each other. And of course, choose foods from different food groups,” Swinney said.

To help get you started, here’s a healthy lunch menu taken from “Healthy Food for Healthy Kids.”


Creamy Tuna Spread

Makes four whole sandwiches.

4 ounces light cream cheese

1/8 teaspoon dill

¼ teaspoon seasoned salt

6-ounce can tuna, packed in water, drained

8 pieces whole-wheat bread

lettuce and tomato (optional)


1. Place cream cheese in a small bowl and stir to soften.

2. Blend in seasonings.

3. Add tuna, mixing until well blended.

4. Spread on 4 slices bread. Top with lettuce and tomato, if you like.

5. Add bread, slice sandwiches in half.

Variations: Also try this spread on crackers, baked chips, popcorn cakes, or pita bread quarters.


Baked Tortilla Chips

Makes eight servings

8 small corn tortillas

Vegetable cooking spray

Garlic salt, cinnamon, sugar, or other spices


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. With clean scissors or knife, cut each tortilla into 4 wedges.

3. Lay the wedges out on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

4. Spray tops of tortillas with spray.

5. Sprinkle with garlic salt, cinnamon, sugar, or other spices.

6. Bake 6 to 10 minutes or until golden.


Cranapple Sauce

Makes four ½ cup servings.

¾ cup whole-cranberry sauce

1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons Craisins


1. Mash cranberry sauce in a bowl with a fork.

2. Stir in applesauce and Craisins.



Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies.

1 cup sugar

½ cup margarine

1 egg

2 tablespoons skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel or orange peel (optional)

2 cups whole-wheat flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cream sugar and margarine together. Add egg, milk, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and lemon peel. Stir in flour.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Combine cinnamon and sugar in saucer.

4. Roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar mixture; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake 10 minutes or until very lightly browned.

Signup to receive
news, specials & more!