School is back in session and that means many of us have started the routine of making lunches each morning for our kids. With time at a premium and so much in the news about childhood obesity, the trick is to find easy school lunch ideas that taste great and pack a healthy punch.
To achieve easy, healthy and yummy, you need to think outside of the box. Brown bag lunches no longer need to consist of a simple PB&J, a bag of chips, an apple and a cookie. With so many effective hot and cold portable containers available on the market, lunch options for kids these days are endless.
Check out this list of 30 easy lunch ideas from Good Housekeeping.
Leftovers are king: Leftover pasta is one of the easiest things to pack in your child’s lunch. Simply heat it up before school and then put it in an insulated container. It will still be warm at lunchtime and your kids will love it. The same is true for hot dish, stir fry, soups or stews. If you’re looking for interesting sandwich fillers, shred last night’s chicken or slice leftover steak, add a few veggies and a piece of cheese and your kids have a gourmet sandwich.
Rethink sandwiches: A sandwich doesn’t have to be simply two slices of bread with something in between, it can be any combination of your favorite meats, veggies and spreads held together by a tortilla, pita, English muffin, croissant or bagel. Add a little zing to your sandwich by using hummus or aioli instead of butter and skip the standard American cheese for a slice of Havarti or Monterey jack. Let your kids help create their favorite combination and they’ll be excited to get to lunch!
Fruits & veggies: Creativity helps to get your kids excited about eating fruits and veggies. Send yummy dips like hummus, zesty ranch or guacamole along with fresh-cut veggies. A creamy fruit dip tastes great with strawberries, melon or bananas. Skewer fruit on a pretzel stick adding a few pieces of cheese to throw in a little protein. Remember to keep it simple and accessible, kids would rather be on the playground than taking the time to peel an orange.
Something crunchy: Kids love crunchy foods, most often chips which can be high in calories and fat. Consider buying baked or whole grain chips to go in their lunchbox. Or, pop a batch of popcorn early in the week, put it into plastic sandwich bags and send it along – it’s high in fiber and tastes great. Snack mix is a great crunchy option for kids and there are many different ways you can make it – shredded wheat snack mix , munch’em crunch’em mix, or Cheerio snack mix.
NuVal helps you choose
Choosing food for your kid’s lunches that is high in nutrition can be difficult with the amount of false advertising on food these days. To help you choose healthy items for your family, Coborn’s grocery stores use the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System. NuVal grades foods on a scale between 1 and 100 and then displays the score on the store shelf. The higher the NuVal Score, the more nutritious the food is overall. It makes finding healthy choices fast and easy!
What healthy lunch foods do your kids love?