Nutritious School Lunches You Can Make In Advance
Whether your kids are physically going back to school, remote learning, or even a mix of both, back to school season has arrived! There is no doubt that parents are busy buying the supplies, gadgets, accessories, and clothes that children need to have a successful school year.
One thing you may not be thinking about yet, however, is what your kids will be eating throughout the day. Lunchtime is an excellent opportunity to promote healthy eating habits, and making lunch at home for your child is an ideal way to keep track of the ingredients and nutrients they'll be getting fuel from. Kids can be picky, though, and thinking up new, healthy recipes that they actually will eat can get tiring. Luckily, we've gathered some nutritious lunch recipes that are kid-approved to inspire your school lunch prep. And the best part - they're all make ahead friendly! Here are some nutritious school lunches that you can make in advance!
DIY Lunchables Pizzas
Lunchables are the coolest thing a kid can show up at lunchtime with. However, they are packed with sodium and honestly don't keep kids full throughout the day. One of the most popular Lunchables varieties is the pizza, and it's very easy to it recreate at home with nutritious ingredients.
Ingredients (makes 1 serving):
- 3 Small Round Pita Breads or Sandwich Thins
- 1/3 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 4 Tbsp Jarred Tomato Sauce
- Toppings: Mini Pepperoni, Olives, Green Peppers, Ham, Pineapple, etc.
Putting it together:
Using a plastic container with three compartments, pack the round breads, sauce, and cheese separately from each other. Additional toppings, such as olives and/or mini pepperoni, can be packed alongside the bread, as it won't make it soggy. Be sure to include a plastic spoon, so that kids can easily spread the sauce.
Rice and Vegetable Fritters
This quick and easy recipe is perfect for making ahead. The recipe makes tons of healthy fritters and can be eaten throughout the week.
Ingredients (makes 14 fritters):
- 2 cups cooked White or Brown Rice
- 1 Zucchini, grated
- 1 Carrot, grated
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
- 4 Eggs, beaten
- 2 slices of shredded Ham (optional)
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil for frying
- 2 Tbsp Sour Cream
Putting it together:
Combine rice, zucchini, carrot, peas, ham (if using) and eggs in a bowl. Season mixture with salt, pepper, and other spices your child may like. Heat oil in a large pan, and form fritters into patties using 1/4 cup of the rice mixture. Fry in batches until firm and golden, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain cooked fritters on paper towel.
Pack three or four fritters with a side of sour cream for dipping. Include fruits or veggies on the side as an additional snack. | from Taste.com.au
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic lunchtime favorite. But most store-bought jelly and jams contain a lot of sugar, carbs, and high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity, weakened immune systems, and increased hyperactivity in children. The other problem with PB&J sandwiches is that school staff members, rather kids do not bring in anything with peanuts because of severe allergic reactions other students can have.
This recipe cuts out peanut butter and sugary jellies, and instead packs a sandwich filled with fresh fruit and calcium and phosphorus filled cream - great for building strong bones!
Ingredients (for 4 sandwiches):
- 1 cup Heavy Cream, chilled
- 1 Tbsp Sugar, or other sweetener, to taste
- A pinch of Salt
- 8 slices of Whole Grain Bread
- Sliced Fruit of your choice - Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, peaches, and mangoes are all good options
Putting it together:
Use an electric mixer to beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form, aiming to have the cream become as thick as possible.
Evenly spread 1/4 cup of the whipped cream on each slice of bread. Arrange fruit slices on top of the cream, placing pieces as close to the edge as possible so that there is fruit in every bite. Place a second slice of bread, cream face down, on top to close the sandwich. Smooth out the edges of the sandwich, adding cream to fill in any gaps on the sides.
Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and chill for three hours or overnight. Cut in half, so that your child can see all of the colorful goodies inside of their fruit sandwich! | from bonappetit.com
Turkey Ranch Wrap
Even kids who are picky eaters usually trust turkey lunch meat. What's great about this turkey wrap is that you can hide an entire salad's worth of ingredients inside, assuring that your child can fill up on nutrient-rich vegetables without fuss. Putting the Ranch dressing on the side keeps the wrap from getting soggy, and kids will use less of it than if you mixed it into the wrap itself, cutting down on added calories.
Ingredients (makes 1 wrap):
- 1 Spinach Tortilla Wrap
- 2 slices of Deli Turkey
- 1/4 cup chopped Tomato
- 1/2 cup shredded Lettuce
- 2 Tbsp Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Putting it together:
Layer turkey slices on top of the tortilla rap. Sprinkle cheese, tomato, and lettuce on top. Roll the tortilla tightly and wrap in foil. If preferred, make multiple wraps, and keep in fridge for up to two days.
When packing lunch, spoon Ranch dressing into a small container. Include a serving of veggies as a snack to eat with any dressing that may be left over. |from superhealthykids.com
Tips for Successful School Lunches
Be prepared for the week:
Set time aside on the weekend (or whenever you are free) to plan and prep for the upcoming week's lunches. Make a well-rounded list of foods your child might enjoy, and ask them what they would like to eat so that their food doesn't end up in a lunchroom trash can. Taking the time to make a list, and ensuring that your kids will eat the food, helps save money and time.
Mix it up:
Even the pickiest eaters agree - variety between meals is essential. Switch up your child's lunch by pairing the main course with different snacks. Fruits, vegetables, and even leftover sides from dinner keep things interesting for kids, and they won't tire of the meals you've made them by the middle of the week.
Keeping things cool:
Are you concerned about your child's lunch staying cold until lunchtime? Insulated lunch boxes are easy to find and affordable, keeping their food safe if a fridge isn't available. Add a little extra coldness by freezing a juice box or water bottle, and packing it into their lunch box. The frozen drink will add a bit extra coolness and be defrosted and ready to drink by the time it's lunchtime!
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