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Brown bag lunches test the taste!

Many parents often rack their brains for new packed lunch ideas. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Hormel Foods, 39 percent of parents surveyed ranked nutrition as the most important consideration when packing a lunch. Only 6 percent ranked taste as the primary consideration. On the other hand, kids--as most parents know--focus on taste!

"To keep your kids happy but still healthy, combine taste and nutrition so lunch isn't traded or thrown away," said Ruth Carey, a registered dietitian who counsels parents and kids on nutrition. "Lunch from home is great, because you know that your child is eating nutritiously."

In fact, 41 percent of parents agree that it's a struggle to make their child's lunch both fun and healthy. For those parents, Carey has a number of simple solutions.

Try these recipes, courtesy of Hormel Foods, in addition to Carey's tips, to create stress-free, tasty school lunches and after-school snacks.

Back-to-School Bagelwich

1 multigrain bagel, sliced in half
1 lettuce leaf
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 tomato slices
2 bell pepper rings
4 slices HORMEL NATURAL CHOICE cooked deli ham
2 tablespoons alfalfa sprouts

To assemble sandwich, layer bottom half of bagel with lettuce leaf, cheese slices, tomato slices, bell pepper rings, ham slices and alfalfa sprouts. Cover with top half of bagel. Makes 1 sandwich.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap

1 (10-ounce) HORMEL chunk breast of chicken, drained and flaked
cups thinly sliced Romaine lettuce
1/2 cup HORMEL premium real crumbled bacon
1 tomato, diced
4 tablespoons creamy Caesar salad dressing
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
4 (8-inch) MANNY'S flour tortillas

In bowl, combine chicken, lettuce, bacon, tomato, salad dressing and cheese. Toss well. Evenly divide mixture among tortillas. Wrap tortillas around filling and serve. Serves 4. Tip: Consider securing the tortillas with plastic wrap to ensure a mess-free lunch.

Quick Quesadilla Bites

24 baked triangular-shaped whole wheat crackers
HORMEL sliced pepperoni slices
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Place two slices of pepperoni onto 12 crackers. Sprinkle with cheese and top with remaining crackers to form sandwich. Place crackers on microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high 20 to 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Serve with salsa for dipping. Makes 12.

Delicious, Nutritious Tips

According to a recent survey, 50 percent of parents say their child is a picky eater. Often it's hard to get those children to eat a packed lunch. To keep kids happy but still healthy, combine taste and nutrition. Ruth Carey, a registered dietitian, offers the following tips to ensure lunches are not traded or thrown away.

--Make it unique: Mix up the classic sandwich by using a whole grain bagel or wheat tortilla instead of bread. Pile on preservative-free Hormel Natural Choice deli ham with kid-friendly condiments.

--Keep it "cool": A small frozen water bottle in a colorful insulated lunch bag will keep food cool and give children the needed fluid to get through recess.

--Calcium counts: Slip in some calcium by adding DiLusso baby Swiss cheese as a snack or sandwich condiment.

--Leave some love: Add a note from home or a colorful sticker to add some fun and love to lunch.

"A little creativity and effort will go a long way. The kids will be happy because they look forward to eating their packed lunch every day. You'll be comforted knowing that they are eating a healthy, nutritious meal," Carey said.

Visit www.hormel.com for more recipes and ideas.

Date: 8/14/06


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