Tips for how to pack a healthy lunch for school

TAMPA - With all Tampa Bay schools heading back to school next week ABC Action News is taking action for parents and their children's health.

Clinical Nutritionist, Jamie Vespa, has some healthy lunches that parents can pack to ensure their children have all the nutrients they need to get through a school day.

-Healthy desserts (black-bean brownies, chick-pea blondies, fruit with cool-whip or chocolate PB)

-In corporate more nutrient-dense grains into your kids lunch. Quinoa, whole wheat bread and wraps are a great source.

-Sandwiches are pretty standard for school lunches. Try and find an alternative like a salad, or wrap.

-Put your child in the chef's hat and watch shows with them that show them how to pack their lunches. They will be more likely to eat their lunch if they know the effort that does into it.

-Review menus ahead of time if child is buying lunch at school. Cost- and nutrition-wise, school lunch is a great value.

-Create a system that works for both parent and child. Agree on what goes into every lunch: some protein, a grain, at least one fruit and veggie, a dairy product (if not buying milk at school) and an optional small sweet or snack item.

-Kids, like adults, eat with their eyes first. I want to encourage the use of a reusable lunch bag or box with favorite cartoon characters or colors. Make foods as bright and colorful as possible. Have fun with shapes (use cookie cutters on sandwiches) and size (make mini-muffins).

The Container Store donated all lunch items featured in the segment. Check out all their cool lunch packing options on their