Back to School 101: Quick and Healthy School Lunches

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And poof…summer’s over! It’s back to school time, and you know what that means: our kids’ schedules are now going to be jam-packed with learning and activities. Give them what they need to power through the day with these nutritious lunch ideas that are ready to go in a flash!  

The Basics:

Build the lunch using these staples: protein, veggie, carbohydrate and fruit. This combination ensures that your kids will feel full, but not sluggish.

Pro Tip:  Use a bento box. It’s perfect for kids who enjoy having their foods separated by color or texture, and it also makes eating fun and gives children variety and a pretty display.

Lunch Ideas:

Kids are more likely to eat a lunch that’s colorful and exciting! Pinwheels/ roll-ups are a great sandwich alternative. Layer a whole wheat tortilla with hummus, turkey, cheese, and spinach.

Make kabobs using wood skewers stacked with cubed cheese, ham/turkey, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices. Substitutes include grilled chicken chunks, pineapple, swiss cheese and avocado. (Save this idea for older kids who won’t use the sticks for a sword fight in the lunchroom!)

It seems like there’s always leftover meats or chicken from dinner. Make good use of what’s in the fridge! Cube leftover steak, chicken or pork and pack a side of bbq sauce your child’s favorite dip. Top a baked sweet potato with shredded chicken or ground beef and then add cheese.

Snacks:

Think beyond basic fruits and veggies and make a variety of healthy snacks they’ll look forward to! Here are a few of my favorites: cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, carrot sticks with pesto, sliced strawberries or bananas with peanut butter, freshly popped popcorn and homemade apple chips.

Save Time:

Save time by prepping the night before. Cut up veggies to serve alone or with hummus, salad dressing or your child’s favorite dip. Slice apples or pears and toss with a squeeze of lemon or orange juice to prevent browning.

A healthy lunch starts with healthy ingredients. Buy local produce, preferably organic. Visit your local farmer’s market for a fresh variety of foods that are better for you and the environment.

For more tips and tricks to prepare delicious food that’s good for you, visit us at The Mad Table website.  And be sure to like The Mad Table on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for all the latest news, fabulous recipes and gorgeous entertaining tips and ideas.