Prepare your kids for busy season with energy-sustaining foods!

We all know after the first school bell rings, the race is on. Busy schedules get even busier, the days get shorter, and packing healthy lunches can become more challenging. Fortunately, your Hy-Vee registered dietitian is ready to help with a few motivating pointers.

Think Outside

the Lunchbox

Take the pressure off building the perfect lunch by thinking in terms of food groups instead of traditional foods. For example, you might picture a whole-wheat sandwich with a side of fruit and milk as the standard, but as long as you’re getting at least three food groups–fruits/veggies, whole grains, protein, dairy–you can get away with catering more to yours or your child’s tastes. For instance, this might mean cheese and whole grain crackers instead of a sandwich.

Include New Foods

It’s good to introduce new foods early on to promote healthy eating practices. Eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables and different types of grains is the best way to get the nutrients needed for good health and sustained energy. Try fruit skewers with grapes, strawberries, and melon. Or blend greens, such as spinach and kale into a fruit smoothie.

Choose Smart Snacks

Look for snacks that provide nutrients such as fiber or protein, with little to no added sugar. In addition to fresh produce, some quick lunchbox-friendly snacks include raisins, Hy-Vee Fruit & Nut Granola, popcorn, fruit bars, whole grain crackers with peanut butter, and yogurt pouches.

Sample Lunch Ideas

Healthy lunches don’t have to be complicated. Check out these simple options:

• Hy-Vee whole grain waffle and peanut butter sandwich, mandarin orange, and string cheese

• KIND Healthy Grains Cinnamon Oat Bar, yogurt pouch, and cucumbers with hummus

• 1 Mini Turkey Slider, bell pepper strips with dip, and KIND Fruit Bites (equivalent to 1 serving of fruit)


Mini Turkey Sliders

Note: Make these easy sliders for dinner and send extras in lunches the next day

Makes 8 sliders

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


1 pound lean ground turkey

½ c. Hy-Vee shredded cheddar cheese

¼ c. Hy-Vee plain breadcrumbs

½ small yellow onion, chopped

Hy-Vee salt and Hy-Vee pepper, to taste

1 tsp Hy-Vee Select olive oil

8 Hy-Vee bakery wheat cocktail buns

Top with: lettuce, sliced tomato, Hy-Vee ketchup and Hy-Vee mustard


1. Combine turkey, cheese, breadcrumbs and chopped onion in a bowl; mixing until just combined. Season with salt and pepper. Form into eight patties.

2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet pan over medium heat. Add turkey sliders and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 5 minutes per side. Serve each slider on bun and top with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard, if desired.


Nutrition per 2 sliders

Calories: 370

Protein: 33g

Carbohydrate: 37g

Saturated Fat: 4.5g

Cholesterol: 100mg

Sodium: 470mg

Dietary Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 7g

Fat: 15g

Trans fats: 0g

Daily Values

4% vitamin A

15% calcium

2% vitamin C

25% iron


The information is not intended as medical advice.

Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Laura Schmidt is a registered dietitian representing Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.


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