Healthy Lunch Options for Kids

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winter09-04-kidsModern

It'??s almost back to school season and that means getting back to our old routines like prepping our kids lunches the night before school. Having a healthy lunch will keep hunger (and crankiness) at bay and sustain your kids throughout their school day. Here are some of our top healthiest picks to keep your kids energized throughout the day.

  1. Simple Sandwiches. Keeping it simple often rules in my home and I love to make healthy sandwiches like almond or peanut butter with a sliced banana and some jelly (usually raspberry) on whole wheat bread. This easy sandwich will give your kids a form of protein and complex carbohydrates that is also a favorite even with the pickest of eaters. If you child doesn'??t like peanut or almond butter consider making a pita or wrap with tuna salad or a marinated tofu wrap. Another easy wrap is one with grilled chicken breast, avocado, tomato, and cucumbers.
  2. Spinach Pie. Portable and easy food is ideal for lunch. I recently discovered this delicious Magic Spinach Pie wrap on the Boston Mamas that I have making and freezing for on-the-go lunches. My picky toddler even loves this blend of spinach, cheese and puff pastry that is a fantastic form of folate and vitamins A, K and C (thanks to the spinach) and calcium and protein from the various cheeses. If your kids don'??t like spinach, you can modify this with any veggie or you can even add meat like ground beef to the batch to make a delicious veggie-meat pie.
  3. Burritos. This Mexican-favorite is a great lunch option that combines various food groups as well as a super filling and tasty lunch option. Make them the night before and include your kids'?? favorite toppings like avocadoes, chicken, ground beef, beans, cheese and/or rice.
  4. Pasta Salad. Kids love pasta! Mix up the regular bowl of whole-wheat pasta with pesto with veggies, a Bolognese (red sauce with meat), a tomato sauce with vegetables, or a light drizzle of olive oil. Kids are also huge fans of macaroni and cheese and I really love The Healthy Wife'??s Healthy Mac and Cheese that uses fat-free milk, butternut squash, reduced fat Monterey jack cheese, reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, and whole-wheat elbow macaroni.
  5. Salad. Salad has come a long way and it even can be a meal in itself. Add some of your kids'?? favorite toppings like carrots, a hard-boiled egg, cheese, peppers, etc with some dressing on the side so it doesn'??t get soggy during the day.

In addition to lunch, we also love a complete lunch with the following healthy snack options:
Sliced apples
Fruit salad mixed with berries, cantaloupe, grapes, etc
Reduced-fat cheese sticks
Whole-grain crackers with hummus
Cut-up veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli)
Applesauce
Healthy trail mix with nuts, whole-grain cereals, and dried fruits like raisins and apricots
Pretzels
Yogurt with granola
Low-sugar granola bar

Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, and more importantly, a mama to two girls. You can read more soup recipes on her blog: seriouslysoupy.com.

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