Great Subs @ SUBMARINA - Hemet
By Judy Ferril

Lunch considerations are important with kids going back to school, but they should also be important for parents going to work.

You think that is just one more thing to add to my list of "to-do's". Not really. With a bit of planning, it can be quite simple.

Salad: How about a Chef's Salad? Leafy lettuce, chopped hard boiled egg, diced ham, tomato wedges are the standard fare, but you really can put anything you want in the salad since you are the chef? It packs nicely with a dressing on the side and holds well in an insulated bag with a blue ice pack. Kids really do like salad too, especially if they have some of their favorite foods in the salad. Left over taco meat, lettuce, a sprinkle of cheese and tortilla chips are great choices. Mix low fat sour cream and salsa for the dressing.

Wraps: An excellent alternative to a boring sandwich on bread. I know you've heard it before, but maybe it bears repeating again. Make extra salad for dinner and put your leftover salad in a wrap and add some sliced chicken, turkey or tuna. Take along a little dressing to add before you eat it to avoid the soggies. Another idea is to make quesadillas with leftovers and reheat them in the microwave. But be careful with the wraps. Look for whole grain, higher fiber - some wraps can be pretty high on the carb load and not the good kind.

Pasta: Make a little extra pasta one evening. Bow ties or rotini are excellent options. I try to use whole wheat pasta whenever I can for that added boost to my diet. Add some diced olives, diced green or red onion, quartered hard-boiled egg, cubed meat of your choice, and baby tomatoes cut in half. Toss it with an Italian type dressing. Sprinkle a little Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese on top. Seal well. Keep refrigerated or in an insulated bag with a blue ice pack.

Picnic Lunch: How about some of your favorite sliced cheeses, whole wheat crackers or a small whole wheat baguette, sliced fruits, and maybe some slices of salami or sopressata? You can do this type of lunch and still make it healthy. Just watch the types of cheese or consider reduced-fat varieties. Same with the salami. And you can buy nitrite/nitrate free salamis that are excellent.

Sandwich: Last, but certainly not least, is an all-time favorite in our home. PB&J. Yes, the classic Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich can be comfort food for a stressful day at the office (or for kids at school). Peanut butter is a healthy food. Make the sandwich on a good whole wheat, whole grain bread and use a pure fruit spread rather than jam or jelly. You really don't need the high fructose corn syrup in your diet. Put banana on it instead of jelly or even with the jelly.

Just remember to make healthy choices. Take along a book and find a quiet place either inside or outside and relax. Enjoy your lunch. You might even start a new trend and get a group together to co-op on lunches. You can save some money and calories and enjoy a great lunch without the crowds!

Judy Ferril is a freelance writer in Minneapolis. Are you a stranger in your own kitchen? Do you think eating healthy means no fun or flavor in your meals? Judy is the self-trained executive chef for the Ferril family and loves to share her passion for cooking and healthy foods with others. Join Judy Ferril at Baking With Lemons. What does baking and lemons have to do with fun, flavor, and health? Come see, stretch your imagination and enjoy new tastes and flavors at Baking with Lemons and Local Food Connections for fun and healthy local food options. Judy Ferril

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