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Five Healthy and Inventive School Lunches

It’s the return of the school year, and parents are now faced with the perennial dilemma: what to pack for lunch? Between getting ready for work and getting the kids ready for school, handing over lunch money seems like a much easier proposition than taking the time to fill the lunchbox. But with a little prep—perhaps when you make dinner the night before—these five fast and healthful lunch ideas don’t take more than a few minutes to throw together and are tasty enough so they won’t end up in the trash.

Monday: Pasta Salad
To pasta cooked the night before, add chunks of turkey, tofu, or ham; cubes of mozzarella cheese; chopped red bell pepper; and shredded carrots tossed in a vinaigrette made with olive oil, rice wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Serve with pineapple chunks and a granola bar.

Tuesday: Turkey Wrap
Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with a layer of cream cheese, turkey slices, sliced cucumber, shredded basil, and sliced cherry tomatoes. Serve with apple slices, a handful of nuts or graham crackers, and a carton of 1 percent milk.

Wednesday: PBB&J
Toast two pieces of whole-wheat bread. Spread one piece with all-natural peanut butter and a layer of sliced banana (can also use sliced apple). Spread fruit jam on other piece of bread. Serve sandwich with fruit juice, a box of raisins or other dried fruit, and string cheese.

Thursday: Chicken Salad Sandwich
Mix leftover chicken or canned chopped chicken meat with mayo, dried cranberries, chopped celery, and a dash of mustard. Spread on a whole-wheat roll. Serve with a container of low-fat fruit yogurt and trail mix with pretzels.

Friday: Mediterranean Meal
Stuff a pita with hummus, falafel, feta cheese and shredded lettuce. Serve with carrot sticks, fig bars, and a piece of fruit.

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