All parents want their kids to eat a healthy lunch, and there has been a great deal of information in the media lately about how unhealthy most school lunches really are. To ensure your child gets a healthy lunch, you may want to start packing a lunch to send to school with your child. However, your idea of a good lunch and your child’s idea of a good lunch may differ. There’s no point in sending something healthy if your child won’t eat it. Here are some healthy lunch ideas that most kids will actually eat and enjoy.
Raw Veggies and Dip
You probably think of raw veggies and dip as a snack or side item, not an entrée. But you can prepare it in such a way that it can in fact be an entrée. Use a half cup of fat free plain Greek yogurt and add about one teaspoon of Lipton soup and dip mix, whatever flavor your child prefers. Dip made with fat free Greek yogurt tastes like dip made with sour cream, but a half cup has about ten grams of protein and no fat. Serve with a variety of raw veggies, like baby carrots, celery sticks, red and yellow pepper strips, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and broccoli and cauliflower florets.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Pinwheels
This is a new spin on an old favorite. It’s fun to eat and it’s healthy. Use no sugar added peanut butter and real fruit preserves instead of jelly. Spread the peanut butter and preserves on a whole wheat tortilla and roll the tortilla up. Then cut the roll into thin slices, which will look like pinwheels.
Pita Pocket Sandwich
Stuff a whole wheat pita with sliced turkey breast, low fat shredded mozzarella cheese, lettuce, diced cucumber and alfalfa sprouts. Send a small cup of low fat salad dressing for your child to drizzle in the pita pocket before eating.
This recipe will make several pizza pockets. Use low fat crescent roll dough, low fat shredded mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni. Flatten the triangles of dough until they are very thin. Layer mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni on the triangles of dough, then roll them up. Bake according to the directions on the can of dough. Serve with a small cup of marinara sauce on the side for dipping.
Mix cooked pasta spirals with diced cooked chicken breast, diced cucumber, diced green pepper and diced onion (unless the green pepper and onion flavors are too strong for your child; some children dislike those flavors). Moisten with a little fat free Italian salad dressing.
Sample Lunch Menu for One Week
Raw veggies with Greek yogurt dip
Whole wheat pretzels
Organic oatmeal cookie
Peanut butter and jelly pinwheels
No sugar added applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon
Pita pocket sandwich
Organic peanut butter cookie
Pizza pocket with marinara sauce for dipping
Small side salad with low fat dressing on the side
Sugar free chocolate pudding cup
Red and green grapes
Organic strawberry yogurt
To ensure your child will actually eat the lunch you pack, involve your child in the process of planning lunch menus, shopping for food and packing lunches. Talk to your child about which foods he or she likes and what he or she likes about them. Encourage your child to try new foods, but it’s OK to rely heavily on a few favorites.