Kid-Friendly, Dietitian-Approved Lunchbox Ideas
This year at Bethel Presbyterian Weekday Preschool, our youngsters have the chance to get a taste of lunchtime at school! Each school day, parents will pack lunch for their children. Proper nutrition will ensure our preschoolers put their best feet forward and are ready to learn. In combination with offering fun and active play, when parents purchase nutritious foods and pack well-balanced lunchboxes, children can also build strong immune systems and maintain healthy weight.
If you are unsure where to start or how to mix up the routine, try out these Kid-Friendly, Dietitian-Approved Lunchbox Ideas for your youngsters. Smiling faces and happy tummies are on the way!
- Homemade pizza roll-ups – Use a whole grain tortilla, mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce. Add cooked veggies if your child likes them (or blend them into the sauce). The sauce can be on the wrap or as a dip on the side. Serve with grapes and a milk box.
- Yogurt sundae – Layer 4oz vanilla or plain yogurt in a plastic storage container with 3-4 sliced strawberries. Top with 1 tbsp chopped almonds, seeds or wheat germ. Also pack a small whole grain granola bar such as a Kashi chewy bar or Clif Kid Z Bar.
- Waffle sandwich – Toast a frozen waffle (Kashi, Vans and Nature’s Path) in the morning. Spread with 2 tsp almond butter, sunflower seed butter or soynut butter. Top with 1/3 of a sliced banana. Cut in half and make a sandwich. Serve with a milk box and a small plum, apple slices or pear slices. If you wish to cut the apple or pear into slices, put a few drops of lemon juice on the slices to prevent browning.
- Roll-em-up – Make turkey and cheese roll-ups and serve with baby carrots and ranch/hummus, a baggie of natural animal or graham crackers and 100% juice. To up fluid intake without upping sugar intake, dilute the juice. In an insulated thermos labeled with your child’s name (Bumpyname Orbit labels at inchbug.com are the best!), pour 4oz of 100% juice and 4-8oz of water. Otherwise, choose Motts for Tots juice boxes or Honest Kids organic thirst quenchers.
- Vegetarian lunch bunch – 1/3 cup raw super firm tofu cubes are super easy to prep and easy to digest, too! Your kids may think they are cheese cubes! Also, pack ½ cup of cooked frozen corn, an unsweetened applesauce cup, an oatmeal raisin cookie and water.
- Egg-credible lunch – Make a homemade egg salad sandwich on whole grain bread – you can even stuff in a few baby spinach leaves. Serve with pineapple tidbits or diced peaches, 4oz yogurt and water.
- A kid-friendly salad – Top chopped romaine lettuce with grilled chicken cubes, canned wild salmon or beans. Be sure to add cucumbers, carrots and olives! Top with ¼ cup shredded cheese. Pack a water bottle and pudding for dessert.
- Noodling around – ½ cup macaroni and cheese or leftover spaghetti with meat sauce, ½ cup berries, broccoli or bell pepper slices with dip and a milk box makes a delicious and colorful combination!
*Try to choose organic animal products such as dairy and meat when possible. Avoid the Dirty Dozen by choosing organic versions of the fruits and vegetables most commonly contaminated with pesticides. Visit foodnews.org to download the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. Research now appears to link childhood pesticide exposure and development of ADHD.
*Avoid artificial ingredients and flavors (read the ingredients label!).
*Avoid high sugar and high fat items.
*The less processed a food is, usually, the more healthful it is!
*Kids enjoy helping to make and pack lunches – plus, it increases the chances they will actually eat their own lunch!