Lunch Box Ideas
Nutritious and Easy Lunch Box Foods
Kids heading back to school? If you pack your child’s lunch, this is a great time to think about what you’re going to put in that lunchbox each day in order to maximize nutrition. Just a little planning can make all the difference in how well your child eats. And the family food budget will likely benefit, too!
Now’s also a good time to consider how green your lunch box habits are. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, school-age children generate 67 pounds of garbage per child each school year – just at lunchtime!
Instead of the old paper bag, consider a washable, reusable, lunch container and reusable silverware and food containers. It may not get him or her out the door to recess any faster, but teaching your child to bring reusables home instead of tossing bags in the garbage is a good lesson in stewardship.
As far as what to put in the lunch container, avoiding the typical commercial fare in favor of your own recipes allows you to minimize undesirables such as artificial flavors, colors and preservatives and maximize wholesome ingredients. When planning each lunch, you might try, for example, to include a fruit and veggie, a whole grain in the form of bread or crackers (or even dessert), a protein such as beans, tuna, or chicken, and calcium via milk or soymilk, cheese, or yogurt.
Here are some recipes for healthful lunchbox fare. They’re easy to fix and won’t take you all morning. In fact, many can be made ahead of time in preparation for the week. Be sure to make enough for any adults in your family who are toting lunches, too!
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These pickles will keep in the fridge for weeks, allowing you to quickly add them to lunches each day.
Our Southwest Ranch Dip can easily be packed into a small reusable container and used for raw veggies.
Southwest Ranch Dip
Some kids enjoy cold quesadillas, much like cold pizza. And if you have access to a microwave at work, you might want to pack them in your own lunchbox, too.
Soup is a quick and easy way to add protein to the lunchbox. In warmer weather, consider a cold soup.
Bean and Pasta Soup
This flatbread travels well and is a fun side. Smear it with your child’s favorite nut butter, for added nutrition.
Low Carb Flatbread
Muffins are an enticing way to up your child’s nutritional intake, especially when they include whole grains and veggies or fruits. Tuck these in without frosting (with a soup, for example) or with frosting as a dessert.
Spread some cream cheese on this quick bread, made with wholesome brown rice flour, or toss in some raisins before baking.
This recipe combines peanut butter (a fave protein source for most kids) with a quick cake mix for an easy-to-make, nutritious treat.
No lunchbox repertoire is complete without the occasional chocolate chip cookie!
Spiced Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
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For more recipes, be sure to check out the Kid Friendly category of our recipes.
Involve the whole family in both the shopping and the preparation for lunches – they’ll become more invested in the movement towards greener, more nutritious lunches and more apt to enjoy and appreciate the results.
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