Dietician Carly ZimmerAs a kid, you may have taken a Lunchable to school. A make-your-own-mini pizza box put a fun spin on lunchtime.Adult Lunchables are now making the rounds on social media. In simplest terms, they’re a portable version of a charcuterie board – a mixture of meats, cheeses, nuts and fruits. The key is to make healthy choices.Carly Zimmer, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at OSF HealthCare, says an adult Lunchable is simply a balanced meal that’s not an intricate recipe. Try for four of the five food groups. For example, your meal may include a combination of whole wheat crackers (grain), hummus (protein), carrots (vegetable), cheese (dairy) and grapes (fruit). Another option: peanut butter and jelly on a whole wheat tortilla with yogurt and fruit.It's one way to make healthy eating less intimidating.“It’s very doable. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. Kids can even help,” Zimmer says. “There are a lot of lunchboxes out there now that lend themselves to this kind of eating. They have little compartments for each food.”

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Making a Lunchable at home is preferred to getting a pre-packaged one at the store, Zimmer says. The packaged snacks or meals are often processed, high in salt and low in fiber. In other words, they’re not nutrient-dense.“Fiber helps keep you full. So if you have a meal that’s not high in fiber, you might eat and an hour or two later find that you’re hungry again. Salt is something that we want to limit, especially people who are at risk for heart disease and high blood pressure,” Zimmer says.Visit the OSF HealthCare website for healthy recipes.

Key takeaways:

  • Like kids' Lunchables, adults can make quick, healthy meals.
  • Aim for a mix of the food groups: grain, protein, fruit, vegetable and dairy.
  • Lunchables made at home are preferred to always eating packaged meals or snacks. Those can be high in salt and low in fiber.

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