Here’s Help With School Lunches

Nutritionist Shari Bilt Boockvar rides to the rescue with tips for healthy lunches that kids will love.

Registered dietician nutritionist Shari Bilt Boockvar. Photo: Kings Food Markets

As a nutritionist and the mom of a 13-year-old boy, Shari Bilt Boockvar knows it’s hard to pack a school lunch that appeals to a young person’s palate as well as to a parent’s desire to see that young person grow up healthy and strong. Working for the 25-store Kings Food Markets chain, she daily helps families deal with allergies, food intolerances and confusion about what kid-friendly products are actually good for them to eat.

Even though organic and Non-GMO products are making it onto supermarket shelves, Boockvar, a registered dietician nutritionist, sees “the obesity epidemic and the complications that arise from that, such as diabetes and high blood-pressure,” as a continuing concern in family nutrition.

“Purchasing organic foods doesn’t necessarily mean you are preventing obesity,” she says. “There are many organic junk food products out there.”

Boockvar, 45, who lives in Livingston, will literally walk families up and down the aisles pointing out products that are quick and easy to make, taste good and promote good nutrition. She takes children on scavenger hunts through the store, learning what to look for on ingredient lists and paying attention to serving sizes.

Here’s her short list of suggestions:


Nature’s Path Organic Heritage Flakes, mixed with berries and 1 percent milk

Barilla Plus Pasta or Tolerant Foods Bean and Lentil Pastas, tossed with leftover meats and vegetables for salads

Mary’s Gone Crackers, mini sandwiches with cheese and meats


Fage, Chobani or Oikos low-fat Greek yogurts blended into smoothies with frozen fruits and nut-free butters

Calavo guacamole, vegetable dip or sandwich condiment

Organic cage-free and free-range brown eggs, hard boiled for snacks


Garden Lights,  soufflés and veggie muffins

Amy’s Light and Lean, Artisan Bistro, Grainful frozen meals

Pacific Organic soups

Protein: (for sandwiches)

Wild Planet, lower mercury tuna

Bilinski’s, organic and natural chicken sausage

Bell and Evans frozen organic grilled chicken breasts


Popcorn Indiana Kettle Corn individual serving bags

Quinn -microwave popcorn

Clif Kid  organic Z Bars

Peeled Snacks organic Apple-to-the-Core

Mamma Chia Squeeze

Kashi TLC soft baked cookies

KIND Healthy Grains bars

Boockvar recommends “getting the kids involved in picking recipes, shopping together, cooking together, packing together. The more they are involved, the more they are helping in making their own food choices, the better outcome you tend to have.”


Blueberry & Power Greens Smoothie


3/4 cup frozen KINGS Frozen Blueberries
1 bunch power greens (kale, chard, and/or spinach)
1 Tbsp organic peanut or nut free butter
1 cup almond milk
1/2 frozen ripe banana
2 pitted dates
1/2 cup ice


Add items in listed order to a blender.  Pulse first to combine then increase speed until smooth.

Turkey & Gruyere Cucumber Sandwiches


6 Slices of Kings organic Hot House Cucumber, peeled and sliced on the bias (angle) ¼” thick
6 thin slices of Kings organic oven browned Turkey breast, cut in half (you will have 12 portions)
6 thin slices of Kings organic Gruyere cheese
12 Kings organic Multigrain crackers
Fresh black pepper
6 leaves of Kings organic fresh basil


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Lightly spray a foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray, layout 6 crackers and start building a small bundle of turkey and cheese on each cracker and pop in pre heated oven for 6-8 minutes.
    2. Remove from the oven and top with fresh sliced cucumber and a grinding of fresh black pepper and a small leaf of fresh basil and top with the other 6 crackers.


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  1. Kenyana Boyd

    Hello! My name is Kenyana Boyd from Nygel’s
    American Cuisine, a fine restaurant with savory cuisine located in Rahway, New
    Jersey. It’s not easy trying to find healthy foods that kids will actually eat.
    I found these tips very helpful, especially your snack recommendations. I do
    agree on getting the kids involved with packing their lunches. They’ll know
    what to expect once they open their lunchbox and it gets them eager to taste
    what they helped create.