CRESTVIEW — School is right around the corner, and for those parents who want to “go green” on a budget while preparing nutritious lunches, Jill Breslawski, Okaloosa's extension agent of family and consumer sciences at the University of Florida, has some suggestions: 

Get bento boxes

“Bento boxes are a new trend I have seen that can be useful to pack portion controlled meals for school lunches,” said Breslawski. “They are portioned containers and they can be used to portion out different foods.

Read food labels
“Parents who pack school lunches can be sure that their kids are being served healthy foods, and avoiding any potential allergens, added fats and sugars, or artificial ingredients by reading food labels,” she said.      

Follow the MyPlate guidelines. Remember the food pyramid? Well, the United States Department of Agriculture has replaced it with the “MyPlate” guidelines, which specify the exact portions of fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins and dairy your child needs. Go to their website for more information: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

Want to “go green” and save money at the same time?  Use leftovers:

“Use leftovers or buy items on sale and pack only the portion your child will eat to save money,” Breslawski said.
“Shop on sales and learn how to store those foods so you can take advantage of sales.”

And for those parents who are not chefs, Breslawski has a few suggestions:

Turkey meat and cheese roll-ups, cherry tomatoes, a no sugar added fruit cup, and a vacuum flask of low-fat milk Ham and cheese sandwich with greens, baby carrots, no sugar added applesauce, and 100 percent fruit juice Vacuum flask of soup, crackers, sweet bell pepper spears, Satsuma, and water