Donatella's Dish

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Back to School Tips & Tricks from Celebrity Chef Donatella Arpaia

Planning back to school lunch is a challenge for parents. As a working mom I know first hand that finding something that is both healthy and appealing each day can seem like a daunting task, here are some tips to make it much easier!

1. Control portion size: Protein portions should be the size of an adult palm. KING'S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls have helped me control portion size for my son's lunches. They are the perfect fit for a palm size portion of meat and cheese.

2. Get creative with the bread: Children get tired of the same bread day after day. Switch it up! Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes from sliced bread. In addition, break out of your sliced bread rut! My favorites are King's Hawaiian mini sub rolls and dinner rolls in flavors ranging from savory butter to honey wheat. My son never gets tired of his bread because I provide variety!

3. Include some protein and healthy fats: Turkey is a lean meat which is featured in my recipe The Lunch Box . I include a protein in my son's lunches because it keeps hunger at bay and provides him with energy. To save time, I roast a boneless turkey breast on Sunday and use slices throughout the week for sandwiches.

4. Plan out your week & involve your kids in meal preparation: Ask children for input on lunch foods and include them in preparation. Have your child come up with fun names for their lunches, I developed the ABC sandwich trio featuring three types of kid-friendly lunches.

5.Packaging matters: Children can pack their lunches themselves. Here is where age matters - cute lunch boxes will not work for your middle-school child, so ask how they want their lunches packed. Younger children can select their lunch box featuring their favorite character or super hero.

Connect with me on social @DonatellaArpaia