WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY — October 10, 2021 — When you send your kids off to school, it’s really hard to control what they are going to eat unless you pack their lunch. If not, they’ll have access to the school cafeteria, which is often filled with unhealthy foods. Schools can opt to use school lunch delivery services to nourish learning minds, but if that is not an option, a homemade meal is a smart option. While junk food tastes good to your little ones, it’s going to cause a crash that will put them to sleep rather than keep them energized through an afternoon of learning. It’s really important that you put a stop to the unhealthy habits now as these formative years are critical for your child’s health and wellbeing.
Instead, why not send them with a healthy lunchbox filled with specially chosen brain-boosting foods? Most of these are likely already in your pantry at home and if not, they are really easy to find at a grocery store or farmer’s market. After each food, we’ve also linked a recipe. Keep them satisfied with these healthy lunch ideas for kids.
1. Nut Butter
Nut butters, most often made of peanuts or almonds, are a wholesome addition to many kids’ snacks and lunches. They are filled with antioxidants like Vitamin E as well as a great source of protein, which will keep your child full for longer. An obvious way of serving nut butter to your child is on a PB&J, but there are also creative recipes like the one below that you can send as a snack.
Make This: Peanut Butter Banana Bars
With three simple ingredients: peanut butter, bananas, and oats, you can whip up a batch of these delicious and wholesome bars. They are fantastic as a breakfast food, or you can top them with chocolate chips and walnuts to make more of a sweet snack for the afternoon or dessert.
Any foods with a lot of omega-3s, like salmon, are excellent for the health of your child. The fatty acids in salmon protect the brain and aid its functioning. If your child isn’t a fan of baked salmon the traditional way, the nuggets below will be sure to please.
Make This: Crispy Baked Salmon Nuggets
A crunchy, tasty alternative to chicken nuggets, these breaded salmon bites will be a big hit with your kids. They are super easy and take around 15 minutes in total to make.
Cheese and other dairy products are filled with B-vitamins, protein, and calcium. While B vitamins are essential for the development of the brain, calcium is great for bone strength. You can send a stick of cheese or a cup of yogurt in their lunchbox, or you can try the following recipe.
Make This: Cheese, Spinach, and Avocado Panini
This combination sounds weird, but it’s totally delicious and filled with lots of good ingredients for your child. Spinach is packed with Vitamin E and magnesium, which bolster your child’s immune system while avocados, like salmon, contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a superfood that are rich in nutrition. They contain high amounts of vitamin K and manganese, which are vital to healing processes in the body. They are also a great source of protein, zinc, iron, calcium, folate, and unsaturated fats. You can either roast them with a bit of salt and send these to school, or try the following recipe.
Make This: Oat and Pumpkin Seed Cookies
Your child loves cookies and you love giving them some that are actually healthy. These oat and pumpkin seed cookies are beyond tasty, plus they’re filled with all the good stuff: pumpkin seeds, oats, walnuts, dried cranberries, and more.
A popular dip from the Middle East made primarily with chickpeas, hummus is a great lunch addition that can be served in many ways. Chickpeas are great for the brain as they contain magnesium, which speeds up the messages sent to your brain. They also have a lot of fiber and protein.
Make This: Hummus Pinwheels
Spread some hummus on a multigrain tortilla and then add all of your child’s favorite veggies. Broccoli, peppers, lettuce, and carrots are particularly tasty in this vegetarian lunch wrap. Slice into bite-size pieces and send in your little one’s lunch box.