Sack Lunches: The good and the bad

How do your kids get their lunch? / file photo

Maybe your kids are picky eaters or you're just looking out for their nutrition; regardless of why you pack a sack lunch, there are some things you should consider before sending it off to school.

What are the best foods to pack? Is it better to pack cold or hot meals? Is there a downside to food in a bag? We asked Hy-Vee Dietitian, Laura Frese, for her opinion.

Generally, cold meals will do a lot better. Many times, schools won't have a place for students to reheat a meal. For best results: a soft lunch box with multiple ice packs or frozen bottles of water. That should keep things cool for a few hours.

"If the icepack thaws out too much, there's a chance the food could get to a dangerous temperature by lunch time," said Frese.

To make sure your kids actually eat what you put in their lunch, get them involved in making it.

"If you take your kids to the store or allow them to help when you're getting their lunch packed, it gives them some ownership of the food and allows them to have input. That will ensure that the food will end up in their bellies and not in the trash cans. So if they like sandwiches, do they like bagels, or pita? Switch it up," said Frese.

Make it easy.

"Instead of sending an apple, how about apple slices or make fruit kabobs and stick them on little skewers, oranges that are already peeled and segmented. Because that's tricky for kids to do on their own," said Frese.

You can find more ways to keep lunch creative and the five lunches kids love here.