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Healthy lunches for kids require organization

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KITCHEN ORGANIZING TIPS

—Storing all dry goods in resealable containers takes up less space in the cabinet and kids can help ­themselves.

—Store condiments on a lazy Susan in the fridge.

—Buy often-used items in bulk so you don’t have to make last-minute trips to the store.

—Get rid of any kitchen bowls/pots/pans and other items you don’t use on a weekly basis — or at least store them somewhere you won’t bump into them daily.

After a few weeks into the school year, parents might be tempted to buy prepackaged lunch kits. Most are high in saturated fat and sodium, and low in fiber and other nutrients. You can make a lunch kit easily that’s more nutritious and less ­expensive.

Bento lunch boxes are popular with youngsters, and you can buy a variety of bento-style containers. Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. You can buy disposables or two-tiered themed boxes such as Hello Kitty, Kotobuki Samurai Warrior, frog face or piggy.

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Here are some ideas for lunch.

Shake-up salads are easy. Simply layer salad ingredients in a plastic container that your child can shake up when he or she is ready to eat.

MANDARIN CHICKEN

1/2 cup drained mandarin oranges

1/3 cup shredded cooked chicken breast

1/3 cup steamed broccoli

1/4 cup chow mein noodles

Directions:

Layer ingredients in plastic container and shake when ready to eat.

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MACARONI SALAD

1/4 cup pizza sauce

1 cup cooked elbow macaroni

1/3 cup defrosted frozen peas and carrots

1/4 cup diced mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Layer ingredients in plastic container and shake when ready to eat.

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TACO SALAD

1/4 cup salsa

1/3 cup rinsed black beans

3/4 cup chopped lettuce

1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup baked tortilla chips, broken

Directions:

Layer ingredients in plastic container and shake when ready to eat.

—From Parents Magazine

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