Back to school means making lunches… and for some parents, it becomes a challenge to come up with fresh and healthy ideas.

When I heard about Milk Unleashed (Le Lait Sans Limite), I was intrigued. My eldest does not drink milk but my youngest does but I don’t usually pack milk in his lunchbox for fear of spoiling.

Milk Unleashed offers shelf safe, Grade A milk that doesn’t require refrigeration until it’s opened – with no preservatives added. The milk can be stored in the pantry for up to six months without refrigeration.

If you have a picky eater and your child’s lunchbox needs a makeover, these tips for tasty and healthy school meals can help – the Five Cs:

Convenient: A package of string cheese is easy to toss in the lunchbox so ditch the fatty potato chips. So is a nut-free granola bar, box of raisins, an apple and shelf safe milk. Here’s a tip – keep some single-serve cartons in the freezer – then nestle one in the lunchbox, and they’ll keep the other items chilled until lunchtime. My kids have a late lunch so this is a great idea.

Colourful: Research shows that kids eat with their eyes and many colourful foods are healthy options. Carrots, fruit, celery and bright green edamame are more appealing. A tip – buy the red or green tortillas for sandwich wraps, or choose veggie tri-colour pasta salad.

Cut Up: Youngsters are much more likely to eat an apple and other fruit and veggies if you cut it up for them – I know this to be true, especially for my little one. He won’t eat an apple just like that but only in slices. I squeeze some fresh lemon juice with the apples so they don’t turn brown. If carrots or apples come with a dip, like yogurt for fruit or ranch dip for veggies, kids might be more inclined to eat them.  Try cutting a sandwich in four strips or little triangles. Or make a mini kabob with rolled up lunchmeat, grape tomatoes and chunks of cheese on a toothpick.

Cute: Use a cookie cutter to shape a sandwich, vegetable or fruit slices and arrange in a bento-style box. Get some fun printed napkins at the dollar store, or draw smiley faces on sandwiches. I like to add a cute note in lunch boxes – the kids seem to enjoy a personal note from mommy.

Cow: Embrace the cow! Dairy foods are packed with nutrients. Just one carton of shelf safe milk has 9 grams of protein and plenty of calcium and vitamin D. It’s just the right beverage to help kids learn and play all afternoon.

For an entire month’s worth of ideas for your lunchbox makeover, download the latest Cow Calendar.

ENTER the Lunchbox Makeover contest until September 10th.  Submit a photo or description of your most creative recipes and lunchbox ideas for a chance to win. Hint: Follow the Five Cs above for a winning entry. Need inspiration? Visit Milk Unleashed on Pinterest.



Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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