Kids are returning to school soon, and parents are scrambling to develop healthy meal ideas for lunchtime.
Packing a healthy lunch is an excellent way to help your kids maintain a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, here are seven healthy lunchbox-ready options that will keep your kiddos happy while they start the first week of school after summer.
1. Turkey Wrap
Start with a whole-wheat tortilla. Spread the wrap with low-calorie mayonnaise and sprinkle on some reduced-fat Swiss cheese. Add thinly sliced roast turkey breast, red leaf lettuce, and tomato slices. Wrap it all up and cut out the crusts (that’s where most of the calories are).
You could also use chicken breast in place of turkey. With only 300 kcal and 6g of fat, this healthy lunch option will satisfy your child until dinner.
2. Mini Cheeseburger Pies
Mini cheeseburger pie is a fun lunch option that will help children get in the swing of back to school. The main ingredients for your homemade pies are ground beef, two eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and chopped onions. You can also consider adding Original Bisquick mix, milk, and cheddar cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before greasing a muffin tin to prepare your mini cheeseburger pie. Add the chopped onions with the ground beef until they turn brown. Stir together the shredded cheddar cheese, garlic salt, and Worcestershire sauce.
In another bowl, stir the eggs, milk, and Bisquick mix until thoroughly combined. Spray the cupcake tin with cooking spray, and using the Bisquick mixture, fill each cup about 1/2 full. Then top them with a beef mixture of about 1/4 cup before additional Bisquick mixture to fill the remaining 1/4. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown.
3. Cream Cheese–Poached Chicken Breast
Use a lower-fat cream cheese for this quick and easy lunch recipe. All it takes is some skinless, boneless chicken breast, unsalted butter, salt, and pepper.
Add the chicken to a skillet and cook on medium heat while adding 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, salt, pepper, and cream cheese. Cook until it turns into a creamy sauce. Serve with a side of toasted baguette or tortillas to keep the calorie count low.
4. Raspberry-Banana Protein Smoothie
Kids love smoothies, which are an easy way to keep them healthy. With just a few ingredients, you can give your children a fruit-packed smoothie that will satisfy their taste buds and give them a nutritious mid-day boost. Ingredients include these:
• Low-fat vanilla yogurt
• Peeled and chopped bananas
• Frozen raspberries
• 1/2 cup of vanilla soy milk
• 1/3 cup of ice cubes
• One tablespoon of honey
Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely smooth before eating or drinking. You can also consider packing the smoothie with freeze-dried snacks to satisfy your child.
5. Nutritious Fruit Salad
Shopping for fresh fruit is a fun way for kids to be less dependent on processed foods. Whole foods are the best source of nutrients and vitamins, so provide your child with fruits and vegetables from the beginning.
You could make a fruit salad with any mix of fruits with a low amount of calories, such as strawberries, raspberries, melon balls, or any type of fresh fruit in season. With a total caloric content of less than 100 kcal per serving, this nutritious lunch option will keep children satisfied until dinner time.
Carrots and apples are also great when making salad as they deliver a nutritional punch. Carrots are full of beta-carotene, converted by the body into Vitamin A. Apples contain pectin, a fiber that lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Pectin also makes apples helpful in regulating digestion, which can be beneficial when adding this to a healthy lunch. With only 140 calories per serving and 6 g of fiber, this healthy lunch option will keep children satisfied until dinner.
6. Homemade Pizza Rolls
These homemade pizza rolls can be made with any wrap (whole grain or spinach) and then customized with your family’s favorite toppings. Add diced turkey, sliced pepperoni, shredded low-fat cheese, sliced olives, and cooked vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top and bake until golden brown. These pizza rolls have 310 kcal and 4g of fat per serving, making them an excellent option for back-to-school lunches.
7. Meatloaf Swords
These meatloaf swords are a healthy lunchbox-ready option that your kids will love. All you need is 4 ounces of ground turkey, 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs, two finely chopped onions, one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add the turkey, onions, and garlic salt to a large bowl and mix well. Then add the bread crumbs and Worcestershire sauce to another bowl.
Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into 8 by 4-inch loaf pans (make sure they’re buttered or sprayed with cooking spray). Bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven until golden brown on top before slicing into 20 thin pieces (5 per serving).
Lunch box meals are an essential part of a child’s development. From when kids are little to when they enter school, they need good nutrition to help them develop into healthy and intelligent adults. So use these lunch ideas to keep your child full and happy.