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Filling your child’s lunch pail day in and day out isn’t exactly a piece of cake. But with a little planning, it can become . . . well, easy as pie. These simple techniques will help keep your child’s lunches healthy – and interesting.

Hope for the sandwich
-- Cut sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie or pastry cutters. Deeper cutters are better. They won’t smash your sandwich.
-- Turn a plain old peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich into something unusual: slice away the crust and then cut the sandwich into three equal-sized strips. Voila! “PB&J bars” your child will gobble up.
-- Or try it this way: two criss-cross diagonal cuts through any sandwich will turn it into four small triangles that little hands can hold easily.

Fruits and veggies
-- If you can’t find fresh fruit – especially in winter – pick up some dried fruits instead. Just like fresh ones, dried fruits are tasty and packed with fiber that’s great for your child’s digestion.
-- Kids love dip – and salad dressing’s just a step away. Cut a stalk of celery or a peeled carrot into sticks and send them along with a plastic container of thousand island or ranch dressing for dunking.
-- Hate the way peeled apples turn brown? A paper towel dampened with lemon juice and wrapped around apple slices will keep them bright for hours.

Power boosters
-- Why pay more for those individual cups of apple sauce or pudding? For fifty cents you can buy a box of instant pudding you mix with milk at home. One box makes enough pudding to fill several containers for the fridge. The treat will last all week, and it comes in delicious flavors from banana to butterscotch.
-- Want to give your child’s thermos bottle a boost in power? Before putting in hot food, fill the bottle with hot water for seven or eight minutes. It’ll stay warm longer.

Work together
-- Let your child help make a lunch menu for the week. Not only will your child enjoy the “together time,” but planning ahead will mean you won’t be left scratching your head in the middle of the week.
-- Let your child make the sandwich now and then. It may be messy, but pack it anyway. Your kid’ll be proud.
-- A lunch box or bag is a terrific place to leave a reminder of your affection for your little girl or boy. Include a special note or riddle to brighten your child’s day. After all, don’t you feel great when somebody lets you know you’re loved?