It's almost time to send the kids back to school and for some families, school starts this week. That means you're either soon to be or in the grind of packing school lunches.
Arizona State University's registered dietician and professor Melinda Johnson tells ABC15 research shows what your child carries in that lunch pail could determine how well they learn.
Johnson invited us into ASU's new kitchen lab to show us some luncheon ideas.
"Packing school lunches can be easy if you practice serving one protein food, one high fiber food and a couple of fruits and vegetables and a healthy beverage," said Johnson.
Most of us parents pack sandwich after sandwich and that can get mundane. But Johnson said that's OK. There's actually a method to the sandwich madness.
"It's because they really do work. They provide a protein source with either your nut butter or your meat. And if you add a whole grain bread, you got your fiber source there as well," Johnson said.
But if you want to expand you're horizons, try chicken salad on a stick.
"It's just basically using wooden skewers, and I'm adding my tomatoes, a little bit of basil and some mozzarella balls with cubed chicken. It just makes it kind of fun for a kid to pick it up and eat their lunch right off of a stick," Johnson said.
If your kid loves to dip, pack some hummus.
"Your child can then use the whole wheat pretzel sticks to dip and they can also use their raw vegetables," Johnson said.
And if you have a picky eater, don't despair. There's usually one in every family. I personally have two.
But Johnson said there are ways to work around that. First, get your child involved in their lunches by giving them choices. Just make sure they're healthy.
"Once the kid has their own input into lunch, they're much more likely to eat it because it's theirs," Johnson said.
She suggests the 90-10 rule for parents: make meals 90 percent nutritious and then throw in 10 percent treat for a battle free day.