Pack a Healthy Lunch your Kids are sure to Love!

Pack a Healthy Lunch your Kids are sure to Love!

Packing a healthy lunch your kids are sure to love can be done with ease.  When your child is fueled with a balanced meal, they’ll have the energy to get through the school day and that = happy kids + moms too!  Of course we like to share our tips and kid approved recipes in order to make your “homework” easier.  Happy “Back to School” time.

Start by stocking up each week with fresh fruits and vegetables and get the kids involved in making the choices.  You’ll be surprised how much they really know about nutrition and what they are excited to try.  When making a school lunch, remember that half of what you pack should include fruit and vegetables.   Incorporate vegetables by adding them to sandwiches or wraps.  Add items such as: sliced carrots, lettuce, peppers, spinach or tomatoes.  Bring color to any lunch with a variety of cut-up veggies; children love to dip in low-fat ranch dressing, peanut butter, yogurt dip or salsa.  Just remember to pack it in!  Serve fruit cut-up in reusable containers and include a variety of colors.  Remember that kids love anything on a stick.  Serve cubed fruit on a kabob or colorful toothpicks.  Add fruit that is already in its own convenient package such as: bananas, apples, pears, peaches and clementines.  Think of a variety of colors such as: blueberries, strawberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes and watermelon.  Fruit and vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals and are naturally low in calories.  Another idea is to pack dried fruit such as raisins and cherries.

Remember to include calcium-rich foods.  Have your children purchase 1% or fat free milk at school.  It is very exciting to be independent and buy your own drink.  Kids are more interested to try an item their friends are also consuming.  Include in their lunch box items such as: yogurt, string cheese or pudding made from low-fat milk.  It is recommended that any child 2 years of age or older consume 1% or fat free milk.

Make the grains you pack your children whole grain.  Look for 100% whole wheat bread, pita or wraps.  Choose brown rice or quinoa and include whole wheat pretzels and crackers.  At least half of the grains your children consume each day, should be whole grains.

Be sure to include protein-rich foods in your child’s lunch.  Protein-rich foods include chicken, turkey, lean beef, chunk light tuna packed in water, beans, eggs and nuts.   Other items to consider are soy products like tofu and veggie burgers.  Choose lean or low-fat items and try to avoid processed meats that are high in sodium.  Most of these protein-rich foods are high in B vitamins and iron important for children’s growing bodies.   Include meatless meals like bean burritos which are delicious served warm or cold.  Other good sources of protein are yogurt, low-fat cheese and milk.

Lunch Ideas:

Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt served with Whole Wheat Pita or crackers

Add Cucumbers slices, cherry tomatoes and edamame

Serve a side of orange slices and cubed honeydew/cantaloupe

8 oz 1% or skim milk

Recipe:

8 oz chicken without skin, chopped

½ cup Plain Greek Yogurt (such as Chobani Greek Yogurt)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine well.  Add your favorite veggies or herbs for added flavor such as: onions, celery, carrots, grapes, peppers, dill or thyme.  Add more Greek yogurt for a creamier texture.  Makes 2 servings.


Turkey Roll-Up with carrot sticks, hummus, lettuce and cherry tomatoes

Serve with sugar snap peas

Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels

Cubed Watermelon

Chobani Champion Greek Yogurt

Recipe:

4 slices of all natural turkey breast

2 T hummus

¼ cup French cut carrots

2 large leaves of iceberg lettuce

6 cherry tomatoes

6 toothpicks

Place 2 slices of turkey over one another to make 2 individual piles.  Spread 1 T of hummus over each pile and add half of carrots.  Roll turkey and then roll again in 1 lettuce leaf.  Add 3 toothpicks with 1 cherry tomato, evenly spaced, to hold roll together.   Slice between tooth picks to make 3 rolls, for a total of 6.  Makes 1 serving.

 

Bean Burrito on a Whole Wheat Tortilla

Cucumber Sticks and Cherry Tomatoes

Strawberry and Blueberries

Chobani Champion Greek Yogurt

Recipe:

1 (15 oz) can of organic pinto beans

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T onions, diced

1 tsp garlic, minced

½ cup water

1 T tomato paste

½ cup brown rice, cooked

½ cup Monterey jack cheese

1 tsp chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

3 whole wheat tortillas, warmed (heat in microwave between damp paper towels for 30 – 45 seconds or until heated through)

Heat olive oil, onions and garlic over medium high heat.  Add pinto beans and sauté for 1 minute.  Add water and heat for another 1 minute and then add tomato paste.  Stir continuously, over heat, until blended well.   Add chili powder, salt, pepper and rice and heat approximately 4-5 minutes.  Add cheese and blend, over heat, until melted throughout.  Beans and rice should be soft, cook longer if needed.  Add more chili powder if desired.   Split mixture amongst 3 tortillas, fold in sides and roll.  Can be placed in foil and packed in thermos or make it the night before, place in refrigerator, and pack in lunch box to be served chilled.  Makes 3 servings.

 

 

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