Long Island Parent Talk

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Enter the Milk Unleashed lunch box makeover photo contest

Milk Unleashed encourages parents to get creative with

Milk Unleashed encourages parents to get creative with back-to-school lunches. (Credit: Handout)

Does your child's lunch box need a healthy makeover? If so, from now through Sept. 10, you can enter your child's midday meal in the Lunch Box Makeover photo contest from Milk Unleashed.

Submit a photo or description of your most creative recipes and lunch box ideas for a chance to win. Think a smiling sandwich. Veggies cut into flowers. The healthier the better! The grand-prize winner will receive a month's worth of shelf-safe milk, Grade A milk that doesn't require refrigeration until opened, from a variety of brands plus a few fun surprises and goodies. Submit your photo on milkunleashed.com.

Looking for inspiration? Follow the five "C's" for healthy school meals from Milk Unleashed: 

1. Convenient: A package of string cheese, raisins and shelf-safe milk is just as easy to toss in the lunch box as a bag of salty potato chips. Keep some single-serve cartons of milk in the freezer then nestle one in a lunch box -- it will keep the other items chilled until noon.

2. Colorful: Research shows that kids eat with their eyes and many colorful foods are healthy options. Think baby carrots, red grapes and bright green edamame. Buy the red or green tortillas for wraps. Or make some pasta salad with colorful corkscrew noodles.

3. Cut-up: Little ones are much more likely to eat an apple (and other produce) if you cut it up for them. Especially if there's something to dip the wedges in, such as peanut butter, yogurt or honey. Try cutting a sandwich in four strips or little triangles. Or, make a mini kebab with rolled-up lunch meat, grape tomatoes and chunks of cheese on a toothpick.

4. Cute: Use a cookie cutter to shape a sandwich or veggie slices. Get some fun printed napkins at the dollar store. Draw a smiley face on a banana.

5. 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.

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