When school is in session, it’s more important than ever to prep those lunchboxes with healthy food. Need some ideas? Here are some tips for packing a healthy lunch.
Focus on “healthy” but keep it familiar. Be sure to include a mix of protein and complex carbohydrates for lunch to help fuel the rest of their day. Protein foods include nut butter (or alternative), nuts and seeds, beans, meats and meat alternatives, dairy and hard boiled eggs. Complex carbohydrates include fresh fruits and veggies, whole or sprouted grain crackers, bread, grains and pasta. Consider combos such as bell peppers, cucumber, baked pita chips and hummus; carrot sticks and cheese sticks; apple slices and nut/seed butter; rice balls with edamame; fresh veggies and yogurt-based ranch dip. Pay attention to the foods your child likes to eat and include them in the lunch, limiting sugary foods and sweets.
Try adding one new food a week into the mix. If your child has never had kiwifruit, slice it and include with strawberries and/or green grapes. Include a different type of cheese on half of a sandwich. Try cauliflower pretzels instead of regular pretzels. This may not always work, but it’s a fun way to introduce some new foods. It also allows for conversation later in the day when you ask what they thought of their lunch.
Make it fun. Cut sandwiches, cheeses and meats into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Serve pinwheels instead of sandwiches, putting sandwich toppings on a tortilla, rolling it up and slicing it into pinwheels. Include some fun stickers or a note in their lunchbox.
Keep it clean. Cut out the plastic bags so commonly used by utilizing biodegradable sandwich bags. Find a bento box or utilize smaller, reusable containers inside the lunchbox to give a bento box feel.
Turkey Cheddar Apple Pinwheels
Courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod Blog
Ditch the same old sandwich and make lunchtime fun with this pinwheel recipe. It includes protein, whole grains, leafy greens and fruit, covering all of the main elements of a well-balanced lunch, and it tastes good, too.
• 1 10-inch whole wheat tortilla
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or mustard of your choice
• 4 deli slices turkey
• 4 slices cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup spinach leaves
• 1/2 large apple cut into 2-inch matchstick pieces
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the loaf of bread and then cut each slice in half. Place the bread in the oven for about five minutes, which is just long enough to lightly toast them. Fry the bacon on the stove and then cut it into about four pieces per strip. Tear the lettuce leaves into smaller pieces, about the same size as your bread pieces, if needed. Spread mayonnaise on each piece of bread. Stack your BLT in this order: bread, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Put a toothpick through the stack, and either place in cooler or on ice immediately.