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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 10:10 am | Updated: 10:40 am, Mon Aug 19, 2013.

A new school year may stress parents for any number of reasons.  Lunches may be one of them, but it doesn’t have to be a painful experience each morning.

If you want to pack a lunch your kids will eat, offer lots of variety, so, when you’re packing your child’s lunch try to incorporate all of the food groups.

It’s also OK to build in a treat, so, don’t be afraid to send along something sweet or a little bag of baked chips.

For parents whose kids are buying their lunch, their options have gotten a lot healthier over the past couple of years.

The U-S-DA’s National School Lunch Program has increased the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the school menu and, this year, the sodium content will get stricter.

In the end, whether your child is a buyer, or a packer, communication is key.

While school lunches must meet federal meal requirements, decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.

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