Pack a Natural Lunch

If you want to send your kids to school with a healthy, nutritious, natural lunch, here are a few ideas.


| September/October 1981



071 natural lunch

School children digging in to their natural lunch.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Though lots of parents take great pains to provide their children with nourishing meals at home, such folk don't always give as much thought to what the youngsters eat when they're out of the house. And unfortunately, the menus that are dished up in public school cafeterias are quite often full of those very "demons"—such as white flour, sugar, and other highly processed foods—that you're probably trying to eliminate from the family's diet (furthermore, current federal budget trimming could soon force cutbacks in school lunch programs).

Therefore, the only way to know that your small student is getting a nutritious noontime meal every day is to send the food with him or her. By preparing it yourself, you can be sure the little one has a satisfying, well-balanced natural lunch. And since it's likely that nobody knows the idiosyncrasies of your youngster's palate better than you do, you can match the contents of the "dinner bucket" to the child's particular likes and dislikes.

Here, then, are recipes for some nutritious carry-along edibles that were developed by MOTHER EARTH NEWS' favorite health food chef, Deborah Dunn (who also whipped up the spread for "A Summer Fish Bake"). The meals are all easy and fun to put together ...which means that youngsters may even enjoy helping with the preparations!

Sandwich Ideas

Probably the single most popular item of lunch-box fare is the sandwich. This simple noonday treat can be more appetizing—and nutritious—than the old white-bread-and-bologna standard. To prepare a slightly sweet and energy-boosting sandwich, spread peanut (or any nut) butter on whole wheat bread, and top it with banana slices, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Or, as a variation, cover the protein-packed filling with grated carrot (or cucumber slices) and alfalfa sprouts.

Sprouts can also make a delicious and crunchy addition to cheese sandwiches: Just spread the bread with mayonnaise, add thinly sliced cheddar, Swiss, or Monterey Jack, then pile on a thick layer of tender alfalfa sprouts.

Cheese sandwiches can benefit from the addition of raw vegetables, too. Butter your slices of bread (or use mayonnaise), and add the cheese, either sliced or grated, plus any one—or all—of the following vegetables: sliced cucumbers, avocado, tomato, grated carrot, and diced onion.





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