The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 27, 2012

Sarah Coyne: Listing healthy lunch ideas helpful

By Sarah Coyne
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — A quick trip through the cafeteria at lunchtime reveals what we all already know: Junk food has infiltrated our best intentions.

If our kids eat the school lunches, their chances of getting balanced meals are hopeful but not guaranteed. There are still creepy additives and flavored milks to contend with. If we choose to pack lunches at home, we’re faced with the task of combining speedy preparation time with enticing options.

Sometimes it boils down to filling brown bags with the closest unobjectionable morsels. We would probably all send our children to school with healthy lunches if it were easy to do so, but early morning hassles and stalled imaginations often interfere. We end up grabbing a prepackaged Lunchable and a baggy of fruit snacks and topping it off with a sugary drink.

To help combat our urges toward packing less-than-wholesome lunches, we might benefit from a cheat sheet to keep the process effortless and streamlined. Paired with a bit of planning and quick preparation, lunches don’t have to be prepackaged and junky.

Here are a few healthy, switchable options on a list that’s easily decipherable during the morning rush.


Cold main courses


Kebabs (Chunks of meat, cheese, bagels)


Ham and cheese muffins

Tortilla roll-ups

Leftover pizza wedges

Roast chicken pieces


Fruits and veggies



Half a banana


Sugar snap peas

Cherry tomatoes

Baby carrots

Celery sticks





String cheese


Hard-boiled egg



Slice of banana bread

Homemade cookie

Graham crackers

Sarah Coyne lives in Joplin. She writes about life and motherhood at her personal blog, http://thisheavenlylife.