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Back to School Lunch Ideas

Back to School Lunch Ideas – Back-to-School Meal Planning: Heart-Healthy, Protein-Packed Lunches – Interview with Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN and founder of Nutritioulicious.

As summer comes to a close, my mindset quickly changes gears to school planning – and a big part of that is meal planning for school lunches. I am a firm believer that lunches should be healthy and filling so kids can function well during the school day.

To get some new Back to School lunch ideas, I interviewed Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN. Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, is the founder of Nutritioulicious, a nutrition communications and consulting business and she has been featured as a nutrition expert for various media outlets. Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN is also a mother of two twin girls.

Back to School Sleep Schedule Tips

Back to School lunch ideas with Jessica Fishman Levinson of Nutrutioulicious…

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Some parents are concerned with the consumption of lunch meats on a daily basis – i.e. the high sodium and lack of nutrtional value with these products. What are some more healthy protein options for a lunch? What are some healthy back to school lunch ideas?

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN – That’s a great point and that’s actually one of the reasons why I love working with Land O’ Frost and their Simply Delicious line of lunch meats…. because they’re American Heart Association certified. So, they’re heart healthy, and they’re lower in sodium than most other lunch meats. It’s really a great option because lunch meat is such a good, easy to pack and really kid friendly lunch option so it’s nice to have that available.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – If a child has a wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity and sandwiches are not a good option because the breads just don’t do well in packed lunches, what other protein options would you recommend for back to school lunch ideas?

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN – I like to do lunch kebabs where you baiscally take your cheese, your lunch meat and you put them onto a skewer and then you can add the fruits and the vegetables onto it as well so you could basically take everything that is going to be in the sandwich, but put it onto the kebab stick. Just make sure to cut off the pointy edge for your kids. I like to put the tomatoes, cucumbers, even the peppers and carrots… if you cut the carrots into rounds you can get them onto the skewer. And, then you add in the protein, the cubes of cheese, the rolled up meat… and that’s really fun. You can even pair it up with a dipping sauce. You can take the mustard, add some honey to it and make it a honey mustard and that’s fun for them.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – If sandwiches are an option, do you have any unique sandwich ideas you can suggest to give kids a variety in their lunches every day?

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN – Yes, for sure. This sandwich I developed specifically with the Simply Delicious roast beef. I’m calling it a Mediterranean Roast Beef Pita Pocket. So, it has hummus, cucumbers, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes, and then it has 2 ounces, which is about six slices, of the roast beef… and that’s all packed into a whole wheat pita pocket. It’s fun for the kids because it’s different than their regular sandwich bread. It has 17 grams of protein in this entire pita pocket which is really a nice amount that will keep them satisfied. I like to pair it with some fresh fruit like apples so you add in that fiber and the sweetness from that. It’s such a well-rounded meal.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – If parents are looking to give kids the responsibility of packing their own lunches, what options do you recommend for easy-to-pack lunches that kids can do themselves?

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN – Everything I have here is really something that kids can do. And, I love getting kids into the kitchen and involved. And, if you start them early by getting them involved and hands on with it with you, they’re going to be more interested in doing it themselves as well. So, we have an example here of a turkey sandwich. It has strawberries on it. Strawberries are really easy for kids to cut. You can even use a plastic knife so little kids can do it, and they can slice up the strawberries and then put it on the turkey, and the sandwich bread…. we have some light whipped cream cheese on there as well. So, that’s a fun thing they can do. Like I said, the kebabs are something fun they can do. You can even do a grain salad; sometimes leftovers for lunch are good. Let’s say you have some quinoa (you’re talking about gluten free and that’s a good option for kids) so like taking quinoa and cutting up some vegetables to it, adding in some dried fruit, if they’re allowed to bring nuts to school… maybe some slivered almonds, and a nice vinaigrette dressing – that’s a good option as well.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Do you have a website where we could find all these great recipe and back to school lunch ideas?

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN CDN – Yes, all of the sandwich recipes you can find on, and you can also find other recipes besides what we have here and other nutrition information.

Jessica has an MS in Nutrition and Dietetics and a BA in Psychology. She lives in Westchester, New York with her husband Andrew, her twin daughters Charlotte and Sabrina, and dog Bernie.


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