It can be a huge challenge to pack lunches for your kids that are not only healthy, but that you are confident they will eat! I have compiled a list of ideas to help my fellow Moms create healthy and appealing school lunches for their precious children! :)
Healthy Back to School Lunches that Your Kids Will WANT to eat:
This is super easy and ooh so yummy!
Ingredients: tortilla wraps (light ones work too), mustard, all of the following thinly sliced: ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles.
Directions: lightly spread some mustard on a tortilla. Lay 2 slices of ham, one pickle slice and one cheese slice. Wrap tightly. Cover in plastic wrap.
Note: You can make two or three for each child. Include your child’s favorite fruit, white or chocolate milk (soy milk is good too) and a snack. Also, if you ever make these at home, pop them in the microwave (or wrap in foil and bake for 10 min at 350 degrees) and serve warm for a yummy twist.
Quick Tips: This can be modified to your child’s tastes or even to create new and different wraps. You can try turkey and muenster cheese with a flavored cream cheese as your “condiment”. Ham and American cheese with bib lettuce slices. Or, even tuna, tomato and lettuce wrapped up is a winner. Sky’s the limit–be creative. :)
Almond Butter and Jam Sandwiches
A healthy and delicious twist on PB&J.
Ingredients: egg or rainbow bread (ask your local grocery store bakery), natural almond butter (almonds should be the only ingredient) and all fruit jam (should be your child’s favorite).
Directions: Spread the almond butter and jam on the bread. To make it extra special for younger kids, use cookie cutter to make cool shapes. Try and use as much of sandwich as possible when making shapes so you do not lose any. Place in a sandwich container. This will be sure to make them smile when they open their container. :)
Note: You will want to include a milk or soy milk…even almond milk (if they like it), a fresh fruit and maybe a salty snack. Pop chips are a healthy, low fat and yummy option.
Tuna Wheat Crackers
A hands on approach that will keep the kids motivated to eat healthy without even realizing it!
Ingredients: tuna salad (make it the way your child likes it), a healthy (larger size) wheat or flavored cracker, cheese squares.
Directions: you can do this one of two ways. Assemble yourself, or let the kids know what you are making and see if they would rather do it. If you do it, place cheese on cracker and then tuna. Place in sandwich container. Done.It is up to you how many to make. It really depends on your child’s appetite.
Notes: make sure you use cheese your kids like. You do not need to buy it pre-cut. It will save you money to do it yourself. Plus, you can make sure it is sized to fit the crackers you buy. The crunchy cracker and tasty salad make this a winner. Send it with a crunchy veggie, fruit and a milk drink.
Quick Tip: Another way to do this is to omit the crackers and use celery. Simply put the tuna salad in the celery crevice. YUM and Crunch Heaven! :D
Pizza is a winner for most kids.
Ingredients: bagel, favorite pizza sauce, toppings your kid will like (mushrooms, pepperoni, bell peppers, etc.), shredded mozzarella cheese.
Directions: slice bagel and spread sauce on each side, do the same to each side: add a little cheese, add topping(s), add a little more cheese, place in container or wrap it up.
Note: Be sure and add a fruit and healthy snack with a yummy drink.
Quick Notes: This is another one that can go in many directions. You can make a pesto or cheese sauce instead of tomato. Use different ingredients that are appealing to your children. Also, you can play with the base a bit–English muffins are another simple option. Since they will not be “cooked” you want to make sure you use a base that will still be tasty. :)
Caesar Lettuce Wraps
Believe it or not, if you add the right ingredients to put INTO the wrap, kids actually like this.
Ingredients: bib or other large leaf lettuce slices, cooked or grilled chicken slices, Caesar dressing, very thinly sliced cucumber slices, black olives (optional), shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated).
Directions: spread lettuce with dressing and add ingredients as follows; cucumber, chicken, cheese, olives. Roll it up and then wrap in plastic wrap. Unless, of course, your kids want to assemble. Give them the option. :)
Note: a fruit salad, snack and drink will round this lunch off well.
Quick Notes: you can do a lot with lettuce wraps. A few ideas: make tuna salad wraps. Simply add tuna, and celery to your lettuce slice and wrap it up. Instead of going the Caesar route, you can also use chicken and simply play with the dressings and other ingredients to make it southwest, Italian, etc. Be creative. :)
Before I close, let me leave you with a few snack ideas to add to your kids lunches to keep them fresh and fun!
Easy Lunch Snacks
Ants on a Log. Most Moms have probably heard of this. Celery, peanut butter and raisins. However, try mixing it up. Use cream cheese and cranberries or almond butter and pretzel sticks. Play with it. You will not only make your kid smile, you will help him or her to enjoy healthy food options.
Apple Slices with a twist. My oldest LOVES this one. Slice an apple into eighths or quarters, spread with peanut butter, place 2-3 chocolate (or other flavor) teddy grams onto peanut butter. You can use a different nut butter and other toppings as well. Again, tailor make it to your kid’s liking. :)
Carrots and ranch. This is simple, yet yummy. You can get crinkle cut carrots to make it fun, and even play with the dressing options.
Grape balloons. This is a fun one. Any seedless grape will do. Simply stick a pretzel stick in the grape and viola, you have a grape balloon. :) If you find it challenging to not break the sticks, try making tiny slit at bottom and then pushing stick in. You can also add a twist and maybe put cream cheese, yogurt or peanut butter on top.
Berry Parfait. Use 2 or three of whatever berries are in season. In a container with tight fitting lid, layer, berries, vanilla yogurt. Make sure berries are the top and bottom.
It is much easier than you may think to get kids to ENJOY eating healthy. Use every opportunity you get to make it fun and healthy at the same time. It is OK to have a little sugar…LOL. Just make sure you always have more of what is healthy and use the natural sugars of fruit that God gave us!
If you have any back to school lunch ideas to add, please leave them in a comment below! I am always looking for new ideas to get my kids to eat better! :)
Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved