If you’re strapped for time but want to give your kids the best and healthiest nutrition you can, here are some great ideas for you.
Many of these lunchbox ideas make economical (and time-saving) use of leftovers and all of them are fast, easy, and delicious!
In lidded containers with crackers alongside: Kids love little containers of things. Make your own healthy ones.
Cottage cheese topped with toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds.
Hummus: store-bought is fine, and you can add finely-chopped bell pepper, scallion, or sunflower seeds for extra nutrition.
Bite-size raw veggies with a separate container of sesame dipping sauce or your favorite ranch dressing or curried tofu mayonnaise.
Apple slices with peanut, cashew, or almond butter.
Cheese cubes with tiny cherry tomatoes.
Leftovers: The trick is to think ahead and make a little extra at dinner for lunch the next day.
Salads of all kinds make great school lunches. Our favorites are Corn Salad (with bell peppers and scallions, olive oil and lemon) and Quinoa Salad (with olive oil and chopped grilled veggies).
Chili or Casseroles: Thick chilis and other stews or casseroles often make tasty wraps, especially with grilled or sautéed vegetables, lettuce and cheese.
Desserts from the freezer: Just place a few of these in the freezer before you go to bed and then throw them in lunchboxes the next morning. They’ll be just-thawed and perfect by lunchtime–and they’ll keep the rest of lunch nicely cold in the meantime.
Individual yogurts (Add a separate container of wheat germ, toasted coconut, berries, or chopped walnuts for a kid-pleasing crunchy topping.
Grapes (include a toothpick; spearing them is fun).
Banana “coins” (you can top them with yogurt, maple syrup, and wheat germ, if you like).
By Cait Johnson, Assistant Producer, Care2 Healthy Living Channels.