It is that time of the year again, kiddos are headed back to school and moms and dads are rushing around trying to get back into the groove again. Some may think with the kids going back to school that leaves more time for parents to get things done, but that usually isn’t the case. The new school year starting means not only going to buy school supplies and clothes, but also adding into your schedule dropping the kids off and picking them up, or putting them on the bus and getting them off. Not to mention making sure they have everything packed and lunches ready to go for them too. But don’t forget, just because the kiddos are headed back to school and need some extra prep time doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your own prep time. So while you are getting the kids’ lunches ready, you can still be getting yours ready too! This weeks topic is all about healthy and simple lunch ideas not just for parents, but for the kids too. Don’t sacrifice anyone’s health or goals for the sake of saving time! Healthy doesn’t have to be hard….
Easy Lunches for Kids
- Corn dog muffins
Follow directions on cornbread package and add a slice of hot dog to it before baking
Cut up a cheese block into cubes and add your kids’ favorite fruit
- Build your own Taco
Tortilla chip scoops
Favorite taco toppings
- Build your own pizza
- Shape sandwiches
Create an easy trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, goldfish crackers)
Add fruit of your choice
Make your kids favorite sandwich and use a cookie cutter to shape it
- Hard-boiled eggs with string cheese, pistachios and goldfish crackers
- Turkey bacon ranch wrap
Take a wrap of your choice, add cheese, lettuce, bacon, turkey, and avocado
A small bag of chips/crackers
Apple or pear
- Sandwich Sushi!
Make a PB&J sandwich, roll it up and cut into sushi slices
A side of fresh veggies
Meat and cheese skewers (cut cheese and meat into cubes, place on toothpick or pretzel)
- Chicken Quesadilla
Take tortilla, cheese and cut up chicken (place into pan, add toppings, flip over and cook until crispy on both sides)
Serve with salsa and sour cream
Veggies and dressing on the side
- Sandwich Skewers
Cut bread, cheese, and meat in squares and put it onto a stick “sandwich”
Serve with crackers and pickles
Served with salsa and apple slices
- Waffle Sandwich
2 waffles with peanut butter and apple between them
Serve with grapes and chocolate covered nuts/pretzels
- Mini Burritos
Flour tortilla, black beans, ground meat, cheese, and corn; top then with shredded lettuce, salsa and sour cream
Serve with fruit and trail mix
Easy Lunches for Parents
These can ALL be created in advance and take little to no time at all!
- Burrito Bowls
Spinach, ground meat, black beans, corn, salsa, guacamole
Mix it all together for an at-home Chipotle feel
- Egg Fried Rice
Eggs, rice, mixed veggies (carrots, broccoli, zucchini, onion, peas, squash etc), coconut aminos
Throw it all in a pan and cook it on medium heat until veggies are soft and eggs are done
- Black Bean Shrimp Pasta
Black bean noodles, shrimp, sauce of your choice (red sauce, oil-based marinade etc)
Cook shrimp in coconut oil for an extra flare
Add in bean sprouts or veggies of your choosing
- Nutritious Salad
Mixed greens (spinach, romaine, arugula)
Berries (or veggies)
Oil-based dressing (stored in a separate container)
- Burger and Fries
Burger (veggie, ground turkey, salmon, tuna, black bean)
Sweet potato fries (cut in strips, placed on a baking sheet with a little olive oil and sea salt; back at 400 for 40 minutes)
Roasted veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts; baked just like sweet potato fries)
- Chicken Salad Wrap
Chicken breast (baked at 350 for 30 minutes, let cool and shred)
Mix in greek yogurt, avocado, celery, a small amount of light (or made with avocado oil) mayo and salt/pepper
Whole wheat wrap (or a different favorite you may have)
Serve with carrots, celery, cucumbers and Bolthouse dressing on the side
- Chicken and black bean quesadilla
Cook chicken and cut into cubes (or shred)
Add in beans, low-fat mozzarella cheese into the tortilla, fold in half and heat both sides
Serve with greek yogurt (as sour cream), salsa and guacamole
A piece of fruit on the side (apple, pear, peach etc)
- Open-face egg sandwich
½ whole wheat (or similar) English muffin, egg, spinach, avocado, and tomato
Stack as a sandwich
- Miso Noodle Soup
Take a mason jar
Fill it with Add-in: red cabbage, cooked Thai noodles, chopped mushrooms, green onions, cilantro and hardboiled egg
One the bottom: 1tbsp miso, 1tbsp water, 1tsp sesame oil, 1 garlic clove
Store in fridge until ready to eat
Before eating: add hot water until 1-inch from the top and let stand 2 minutes, then enjoy!
- Shrimp and Quinoa Salad
Salad: 6oz fully cooked shrimp, 3c. quinoa, 2 cucumbers, 1pt. cherry tomato,1/2 red onion, ½ avocado,1/2c. feta and parsley
Dressing: 1/3 c. olive oil, 1/4c. red wine vinegar, 1tsp honey, 1clove garlic, salt, oregano
Mix it all together and portion it out for your lunch!
- Turkey Club Cups
Ingredients: 12 slices roasted turkey, 12 slices cheese, 1/4c. avocado oil mayo, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, shredded lettuce, cherry tomatos, avocado, bacon crumbles
Cook: place a slice of turkey in an oiled muffin tin, place a slice of cheese inside a cup and bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
Mix mayo and mustard together.
When cups are cooked fill with your topping and store in the refrigerator. Perfect grab and go lunch!
- Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients: 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 c. Buffalo sauce, salt, and pepper, 1/2c diced celery, blue cheese crumbles, 2 heads of lettuce, Bolthouse yogurt ranch dressing
Cook: in a pan combine shredded chicken, olive oil, buffalo sauce and salt/pepper. Once it begins to thicken, remove from heat and add celery.
Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves and sprinkle with blue cheese and ranch.
Can be served warm or put into a container to construct later at work!
No more excuses; I just gave you 24 healthy lunches for both parents and the kiddos! Easy to make and are all able to be prepared ahead of time! If you get overwhelmed and flustered just remember “protein, veggies/fruit, and healthy fats” and you’ll be good to go! Cheers to a simple and healthy start to the new school year. Let’s make it a habit to prep our meals ahead of time to save on time and decrease stress levels.