By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Friday, August 6, 2021


The Best Bites to Bag Up

It’s time to go beyond the typical brown bag bites and find livelier lunch options to pack for you and your family. August welcomes a new school year, therefore, it is a great time to think outside of the lunchbox and incorporate new ideas that stem fun, creative and engaging minds — for kids and adults alike.

With a weekly game plan, some imagination, and maybe a little guidance on what to grab at the grocery store, feel confident as you tackle this mealtime beast that, more times than not, defaults to boring. 

DYI Lunchables

Don’t get us wrong, the compartment divided crackers, meat, and cheese platters that are sold in the cooler case of the grocery store are convenient, but they could use some healthful help. Using the same, simple concept, make your own lunchable using low-sodium deli meat, whole grain crackers, cheese, and pack some baby carrots or bell pepper strips with hummus to round it out. DYI, done and delicious.

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Love Your Leftovers Too

Who’s part of the cook once, eat twice (or three or four times) club? To succeed at eating less take out, leftovers from dinner the night before is a perfect lunch option. Double your dinners to have a midday winner – your wallet and waistline will welcome this easy hack week after week.  

Be Ridiculously Random

No one’s judging, so don’t worry if the concoction you pack up is downright random. Build a “kitchen sink” salad in a large portable container with your favorite greens, along with whatever veggies, protein, nuts and dried fruit you keep in your cupboards. Make it complete by adding a vinaigrette salad dressing, and ta-da – this masterpiece may be one of your go-to’s for the midday meal.

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Go Beyond the Sandwich

Sure, PB&J’s have saved the day more times than not, but there are many options that are just as quick and easy. Swap out bread for a sweet potato base and add toppings such as avocado, cheese, beans and salsa for a tasty taco remix. Pro tip: poke the sweet potato with a fork and microwave for 5-7 minutes for a cooking hack that makes meal prep easy.


Paige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.