Star Nutritionist: Easy, Affordable, Healthy Kids' Lunches

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Dread sending your kid off to school to eat a calorie-packed hot lunch? Not sure what to include in a brown bag that's healthy, affordable -- and still appealing to your children? Celeb nutritionist and Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads author Christine Avanti (clients include Jeremy Piven and Samantha Harris), tells, "Eating balanced meals helps kids stabilize blood sugar, which helps keep them calm, happy and alert throughout the day." Avanti recommends those 7 to 10 consume 2,000 calories a day.  Read on for her tips:

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1. Keep the Sweet and Salty - but Opt for Healthy Alternatives
"Apple slices, blueberries or FruitaBu all-organic fruit leather, which is made by Kashi and has no high-fructose corn syrup" are all good options, Avanti tells Us. She recommends replacing greasy potato chips with Popchips, which come in 100-calorie servings. Other ideas: string cheese, hummus dip with celery, crunchy red pepper slices and organic juice boxes with real juice instead of anything made from concentrate and packed with preservatives.

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2. Disguise Foods So Kids Will Eat Them

"Give the foods silly names -- such as ants on a log for peanut butter-covered bananas with raisons," suggests Avanti. She also recommends sneaking healthy ingredients into kid-friendly food, like slices of tomatoes in grilled cheese or baking blueberry menus with organic apple sauce instead of refined white sugar and butter.

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3. Don't Break the Bank Buying Expensive Ingredients
An affordable meal: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with natural peanut butter and no sugar, all-fruit preservatives. Other ideas with price-conscious ingredients include Greek yogurt granola parfait, turkey and cheddar wrap in a whole-wheat tortilla and a whole-wheat bagel dipped into fruity cream cheese, a mixture of organic fruit spread and fresh fruit.