Healthy Kids’ Lunches Beyond Sandwiches
Packing a healthy lunch is a great way to help you get your kids the necessary nutrients that they need to get you through the day. It also can help prevent your kids from solely relying on vending machines or fast food for lunch. Before deciding on what to pack, determine if they can refrigerate their lunch or not. If your kids are older, I doubt a refrigerator is an option so I recommend getting lunch boxes with thermal properties or pack an ice pack in the lunch to keep things cool. A big tip for pre-packing lunches would be to sit down with your kids and discuss what they like/don’t like and see if you can all brainstorm to come up with unique and healthy portable meal options.
Utilizing sturdy Tupperware can allow you to pack a number of healthy but tasty foods. Whole wheat pasta salad (including red and yellow peppers, black olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, broccoli and chick peas mixed with a low fat Italian dressing) can make for a great lunch. Pair this with some fruit and maybe some milk and this is a well- rounded lunch. Kids love pizza for lunch but it isn’t always that healthy. So make your own! One of my personal favorites is a white veggie pizza. First mix together light cream cheese with sour cream and part skim mozzarella cheese and season with a hint of garlic salt. Top a pre made whole wheat crust with the cheese mixture and add their favorite veggies (I love carrots, halved tomatoes, green pepper, and cucumber slices). Be sure to pack a few slices per lunch and include a healthy low sugar juice option like Old Orchard’s Healthy Balance juice. Your kids may like to “make their own taco” too when they get to school. Include leftover shredded chicken, small tortillas, and individual containers with small amounts of: lettuce, cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, black beans etc. Finally, if you don’t have a lot of time to pack a lunch, do a “hodgepodge” of lunch goodies. One lunch may include: peanut butter in a Tupperware container paired with whole grain crackers/celery sticks/dried fruit and a bagel. Your child can top the bagel with peanut butter and use the remainder to act as a dip for the celery and crackers. Another lunch could include a baggie with almonds, a colorful fruit salad, a cup of yogurt, and a granola bar. Tiny containers allow your kids to bring along a healthy afternoon snack of almonds or trail mix or cubed cheese so they can stay fueled all day long!