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It’s August and school bells are ringing. No, wait, hardly any school bells ring in this generation; it is more like, and tones are toning. It seems the days of hearing bells are gone, but one thing is for sure — school lunches are a steady. Again just like bells, school lunches of days past are not in the present, but new and exciting food items can be found in the cafeterias all over the country.
I spoke with Mary Kuhn, director child nutrition for Hardin County Schools, and she told me the menus in all the district’s elementary schools are based on the Healthier U.S. School Challenge criteria. The reimbursable lunches meet USDA nutrition standards. School cafeterias offer dark green or orange vegetables three days a week, and offer cooked dried beans each week as well. Every day they provide a different fresh fruit and a canned fruit and a whole grain food serving. Fresh fruits are crispy apples, fresh grapes, oranges, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, pears, kiwi and pineapple. All elementary students receive breakfast at no charge and, finally, milk servings are low-fat or fat free, and juices are 100 percent fruit juice.
However, if for some reason, whether it be health related or being a picky eater, there is always the option of taking lunches. Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich does provide some protein and is healthier if served on whole wheat bread, but there are many other options for portable lunches — about as many as there are lunch box characters and themes.
Our friends at Kraft have some suggestions for you if you find yourself packing lunches for your children.
Nora Sweat is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenter prise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.
For the younger set:
1 slice of cheese
1 slice bologna
1 hot dog bun
1 tablespoon salad dressing, mayonnaise or mustard
1 leaf lettuce
Cut cheese and bologna in half, using knife to make zigzag cut. Spread inside of bun with dressing; fill with lettuce, cheese, and bologna. Move cheese so that it forms a zigzag pattern to represent the landscape and the lettuce will be the trees.
Serve with cherry tomatoes.
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 slice white bread
2 tablespoons cream cheese spread
1 tablespoon jam, jelly or preserves
Spread 1 bread slice with cream cheese spread; top with jam and remaining bread slice. Cut sandwich into irregular-shaped pieces to form a puzzle. Placepieces in tightly covered plastic container or in sealed plastic bag. Serve with grapes and glass of cold milk.
Baby Bagel Sandwiches
2 mini whole wheat bagels
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 cheese slice, cut in half
4 slices deli fresh smoked ham
1/3 cup thin apple slices
Split bagels in half. Spread cream cheese on bagel halves. Fill with remaining ingredients. Serve with remaining apple, 1 cup sugar snap peas and a cold glass of fat-free milk.
1 slice whole wheat bread, crust removed
1 teaspoon salad dressing
3 slices oven roasted turkey breast
1 slice cheese
Flatten bread with rolling pin; spread with dressing. Top with turkey and cheese; roll up tightly. Cut crosswise into 4 pinwheels.
Serve immediately or stack pinwheels on top of each other; wrap in plastic wrap. Pack in chilled lunch cooler pack until ready to serve.
For the Older Set:
Steak Grinder Sandwich
2 teaspoons steak sauce
1/3 cup thin onion slices
1/3 cup thin fresh mushroom slices
5 slices deli roast beef
1 big slice sharp cheddar cheese
1 sub roll (6 inch) partially split
1 tablespoon salad dressing, mayonnaise, or mustard
Cook sauce and vegetables in skillet on medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, stack meat on microwaveable plate; top with cheese. Microwave on high for thirty seconds or until cheese is melted. Spread roll with condiments; fill with meat and vegetable mixer.
This could be served warm if packed in an insulated carrier, or eaten cool. Serve with apple slices.
1 tablespoon mayo with olive oil cracked pepper reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 whole-grain sandwich bun
1/2 cup sliced grilled Portobello mushrooms
2 roasted red pepper strips
2 ounces oven roasted turkey breast
1 big slice Swiss cheese
Spread mayonnaise onto cut sides of bun. Fill with remaining ingredients. Serve with single serving of gelatin and glass of cold milk.
Bavarian Rhapsody Sandwich
1 pretzel sandwich roll, split
1 tablespoon horseradish Dijon flavored reduced fatmayonnaise
2 Kosher dill sandwich slices
4 ounces ham
2 Colby Jack Cheese Slices
Spread mayonnaise on cut sides of roll. Fill with remaining ingredients. Cut in half. Substitute a 5-inch piece of Italian bread for the pretzel roll.
Turkey Gyro Sandwich
1/2 cup Greek strained nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cucumbers
1 pkg. (8 oz.) deli turkey pastrami
4 Greek-style pita flatbreads
2 tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
4 slices sweet onion
Combine yogurt and cucumbers. Separate pastrami slices; place on microwaveable plate. Cover with paper towel. Microwave on high 45 seconds or just until warmed; place on flatbreads. Top with tomatoes, onions and yogurt mixture; fold in half.
Look for Greek-style flatbreads, also known as foldable soft pita breads, in the bread aisle of your supermarket. For added color and flavor, stir chopped fresh parsley into yogurt mixture before using as directed.
All the recipes from www.kraftrecipes.com.