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Healthy School Lunch Ideas for Kids - Healthy Lunches for Kids
High fructose corn syrup, red dye #40, bleached white flour - those are just some of the many ingredients that our public schools are incorporating into children's school lunches! Save money and more importantly, give your child a healthy lunch that they'll enjoy. Learn some great ideas that combine protein, fiber and naturally sweet foods to give your child a hearty lunch that will also boost their learning abilities and not get them all "hyped-up" on refined sugar. Here are some quick and easy healthy kids lunch ideas that your kids will enjoy and others kids will be jealous of!
Note: These lunch ideas are non-microwaveable since many kids unfortunately do not have access to a microwave at lunchtime.
Buy Fun Kids Sandwich Cutters
Healthy PB& J Sandwich Recipe for Kids
This sandwich is so much healthier than a traditional PB&J made on white bread with processed peanut butter and sugar-infused jelly. If your child balks at the thought of eating whole wheat bread, use a fun cookie cutter shape to make the sandwich more appealing. Once they taste it, they'll love it!
- Whole wheat bread
- No-sugar added peanut butter (make sure your child's school allows peanut butter!)
- No-sugar added jam or jelly
- Sliced banana
- Optional: Fun cookie cutter shape
Assemble the PB&J sandwich with the healthy ingredients listed above. The protein and fiber from the natural peanut butter and whole wheat will give your child an added mental boost to help them with their studies. Use an optional cookie cutter shape such as a heart or star to make the sandwich more appealing. Serve with apple slices, veggie sticks with dip and bottle water or natural juice for a great lunch.
Variation: Omit jam or jelly and add honey to the peanut butter and banana for a naturally sweet, yummy treat!
Circle Cookie Cutters - Perfect for creating bite-sized snacks
Say goodbye to fake orange cheese, refined carbohydrate crackers, sugary drinks and candies - you can easily make your child their own "lunchable" that will taste even better than the kind that you buy at the grocery store.
- Whole wheat crackers like Triscuits
- Lean low-sodium ham or turkey (thickly sliced)
- Locally made real cheese (cheddar is a favorite of many kids)
- Natural, no-sugar added juice pack
- Cut-up pieces of your child's favorite fruit
- Round shaped cookie cutters
Directions: Use a small round cookie cutter to cut out shapes in the meat and cheese slices. Find plastic containers that are large enough to store all the elements of the lunch and you've got your own, homemade "lunchable" without all the sodium and fake, processed junk!
Pasta Salad for Kids
Most kids love pasta salad, you just need to find a recipe that contains foods they enjoy. For a healthy pasta salad, try a mixture of following ingredients:
- 1/2 cooked Whole Wheat Pasta
- 1/2 cooked White Pasta
- Low-fat ranch dressing
- Diced ham
- Diced cucumber
- Shredded carrots
Serve the cold pasta salad with low-fat string cheese, an apple and bottle water.
Go here for some more easy cold pasta salad ideas.
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Tips for Healthy School Lunches for Kids
- Kids are more likely to eat something that they helped "cook", so set aside some time with your child before they go to bed and make their lunch for the next day.
- For convenience sake, it is still possible to find pre-packaged lunch foods for kids that are healthy. A good place to start is at your local Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or health food store. You can always prepackage healthy crackers in ziploc bags to save money.
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