5 Best School Lunches for Your Kids

5 best school lunches for your kids

 

It can be hard to know exactly what has the most nutritional value for your growing child. Fortunately, you can pack lunches that will go a long way toward providing your child with proper nutrition. Here are the five best school lunches for your kids.

 

Veggie Mac and Cheese Soup

  • 1 (6-ounce) box macaroni and cheese
  • 1 (32-ounce) package reduced-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend
  • ¼ cup whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni and cheese according to box directions. In a saucepan, bring the broth/stock to a boil. Add vegetables and cook until tender. Reduce to medium heat. Add cooked macaroni and cheese to the veggies and broth and add milk and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

 

Homemade Taquitos

  • 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans or 1 (12.5-ounce) can of cooked chicken breast
  • 1 small can of mild green chiles
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or ½ finely diced onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt or 1 finely minced clove of garlic
  • 1 package of small flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine refried beans, cheese, lime juice, cumin, onion powder, and garlic salt in a large mixing bowl. Spoon 2-4 tablespoons of the mixture into a tortilla. Wrap tortilla tightly, then set taquito on a cookie sheet or large baking dish which has been generously sprayed with cooking spray.

After all taquitos are wrapped, spray a heavy layer of cooking spray over each tortilla. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges of the tortillas are crisp and browned. Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and salsa.

 

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus ½ cup (1 stick)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 16 slices Pullman loaf
  • 16 ounces cheddar, grated

Heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until tomato paste for about two minutes. Add canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, bay leaf, and sugar and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook until flavors are melded. Remove it from heat and stir in the cream. While cooking, prepare the grilled cheese sandwich.

 

Homemade Spaghetti-Os

  • 1 (15-ounce) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons butter-type spread
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta

Stir together all ingredients except the pasta in a small pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook on low until the butter spread melts completely. Boil water in a separate pot, throw in the pasta and cook until desired texture is reached.

 

 Lunch Box Taco Chicken Soup

  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 cup mushroom, sliced
  • ? cup onion, diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 (12-ounce) can kernel corn
  • 2 cups taco sauce or 2 cups salsa
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon taco seasoning

 

Cook bacon until crisp. Add vegetables and cook until onion softens. Add remaining ingredients and boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool completely and then freeze in single serve containers. Defrost overnight, then warm in microwave until heated through. Pour into Thermos and pack in lunch.

 

PHOTO

 

 

Great Fall Sandwiches

Great Fall Sandwiches

Wondering what to bring for lunch or pack in your kids' lunchboxes? The mighty sandwich can provide a healthy, filling main staple of the midday meal. Containing your necessary fiber, nutrients, and proteins, it's a balanced and hearty option for sustaining your busy day. And it doesn't have to just be peanut butter and jelly; you can get creative with your sandwiches. Here are a few ideas:

Thanksgiving Sandwich

It's not Thanksgiving yet, but you may be craving some turkey and cranberry sauce ahead of time. In between two slices of whole-wheat bread (these contain fiber, iron, and healthy carbohydrates), you can add elements of the Thanksgiving meal. We recommend slices of roast turkey, mashed sweet potato, and cranberry sauce. It's a delicious reminder of the holiday to come, and it packs all your necessary vitamins, nutrients, and lean proteins into one incredibly tasty lunch.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

A famed New York treat is bagels, lox, and cream cheese, but you can substitute the bagel for more complex carbohydrates in whole-wheat bread. Slather cream cheese on a slice of bread, then place a tomato, slices of onion, and some smoked salmon on top. You're getting a valuable helping of omega-3s, which aid your heart and your brain function- especially important for work and school.

Apple and Chicken Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a tasty reminder of childhood, but it's not particularly filling. Spice it up by placing tiny slices of apple and cooked chicken atop the cheese before grilling. This is a great way to sneak some protein and fruit into your kids' lunches. Small pieces of chicken and apple will go virtually unnoticed as your child munches on a nutritious lunch. For adults, the crisp taste of apple will really add to the sandwich. Another variation of this recipe uses bacon instead of chicken.

Tuna and Avocado Sandwich

Tuna fish sandwiches are an office staple, but they can taste bland when just mixed with bread and a bit of mayo. Thankfully, they can be boosted to higher levels of flavor and nutrition when you add slices of tomato and scoops of avocado. This gives you healthy fats and omega-3 nutrients sandwiched in between your bread, courtesy of the avocado and tuna.

Monterey Jack and Pear Sandwich

There's just something about fruit and cheese: they pair so well together. A few slices of Monterey Jack cheese, topped with some thinly sliced pear, will add a delicious spark to your sandwich. You can also add a protein of choice, such as chicken or turkey, that's either roasted or deli style. The trick is to use a protein that doesn't have much flavor, so it doesn't contrast with the existing cheese and fruit.

Steak and Spinach Sandwich

If you have leftover steak from dinner, you can cut it into small slices for a sandwich. Add some spinach and the condiment of your choice, such as chipotle mayonnaise, for a sandwich that gives you plenty of iron, minerals, and nutrients.

[Image 1] [Image 2]

 

Lunchbox Ideas Your Kids Will Love

LunchBox Ideas

It's tough figuring out what to pack for your kids' lunches. You want them to eat healthy, but in four hours they'll be in a cafeteria surrounded by other children with sugary cookies and sodas. A soggy sandwich and bruised apple just really doesn't look enticing. For lunchboxes, it's all about presentation- and we've got some ideas that your kiddos will gobble up.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Rolls

Make a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then slice it into strips. Roll it into a little ball so it looks like a sushi roll. The best ideas for these is to refrigerate them overnight and pack them with a cold pack so they don't get soggy. Kids love eating interesting foods, and this really puts a twist on the regular sandwich that keeps it fresh and exciting.

Ants on a Log

This is a traditional lunchbox recipe that's stayed fresh through the ages. Cut celery sticks up, dab peanut butter down the center, and arrange raisins "walking" down the log like little ants. It's a healthy, protein-packed snack that's arranged so well that kids don't even notice they're eating vegetables.

Zucchini or Pumpkin Bread

It's tough to sneak vegetables into lunchboxes. Kids are notoriously picky eaters when it comes to veggies. But no child has ever refused a slice of zucchini or pumpkin bread. While it doesn't provide a full serving of vegetables, a few slices of a whole-wheat vegetable bread- sprinkled with a little sugar and sea salt on top- will give your kid a relatively healthy dessert.

No-Bake Granola Bars

There are dozens of recipes for easy, homemade granola bars that don't involve ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or preservatives. You and your kids can make these on weekends and refrigerate them until it's time for lunch. Typically, they're made from peanut butter, oats, crisp rice cereal, coconut oil, and honey- all natural ingredients that are more nutritious than the packaged variety. For the little ones with a sweet tooth, you can always drizzle a little melted chocolate on top before you let it cool.

Fruit Salad

Chopped fruit slices are a staple of the playground, but they can become brown and unappealing by lunchtime. A nice fruit salad of grapes, apples, and pear slices will stay colorful until lunch if you add just a touch of lemon juice. Lunchboxes are all about presentation, so focus on shapes. Balls of canteloupe and melon can be achieved with an ice cream scoop and distract kids from the fact that they're eating fruit and not sugary fruit snacks.

Magic Cheese Wands

Spear little pretzel sticks into cubes of cheddar (or other) cheese, then send with a little cup of honey mustard sauce. Kids love active eating, so they'll enjoy dipping pretzels (or any rod-shaped ingredient; carrots can work too) into the mustard sauce. If you don't have honey mustard sauce on hand, the recipe works just fine without it- your kid will still enjoy the magic wand.

[Image 1] [Image 2]

 

Six Terrific Lunchbox Ideas

Lunchbox Ideas

Kids are notoriously picky eaters. The apple's too soft; the sandwich is too soggy; the soup got cold in the thermos. It's hard to get them to eat healthy when they're surrounded by other kids whose parents pack bags of chips, candy, and sugary juice boxes. But we've got six terrific lunchbox ideas that even the pickiest eaters are sure to love.

Macaroni and Cheese With Tuna and Old Bay

Kids naturally love mac 'n' cheese. It's a staple food of dinner, and was recently ranked the most popular food in Canada. But there are ways to sneak healthy foods in there. You can add tuna or peas into macaroni and cheese, which gives your kid a boost of nutrients.

One of the best ways to disguise tuna or peas in mac 'n' cheese is by using spices that your kid will notice first. Old Bay or a Cajun spice will attract your kid's attention more than the canned fish or peas or carrots. For adults, it's also a delicious way to get your nutrients by adding healthy food to a childhood favorite.

Heart-Shaped, Non-Soggy Sandwiches

The main complaint about kids' sandwiches is that peanut butter and jelly get soggy, turning into a mushy mess by noon. But if you use non-soggy foods, like plain wheat bread with slices of turkey and cheese, the sandwich won't become soggy in your kid's lunchbox. The best part? If you eliminate condiments like mayonnaise, your kid won't get a soggy, calorie-laden sandwich.

You can also cut the sandwich into a little heart shape, or really any shape that you're capable of making. This makes the sandwich more exciting to eat for your kid. Got a budding astronomer? Shape the sandwich into a little star. They'll be so amazed by the shape that they'll definitely eat it.

Freshly Cut Fruit With Toothpicks

Kids view fruit as a convenience item. If they have to peel an orange, they may not take the time to actually do it. If you provide cubes of pineapple, cantaloupe, or other fruits and stick a toothpick in each one, it makes eating fruit more fun.

Cheese and Sausage Sticks

It's kind of like eating a mini cheeseburger: meat with fresh cheese. Cut cheese into sticks and add sausages alongside. The trick? You can use vegetable sausages and your kid will probably never know. You can also use fresh organic cheese instead of processed options.

Banana Muffins

You can make very healthy muffins with low sugar that your kids are sure to love. For a little sweet taste, you can add macadamia nuts to the muffins that your kids could mistake for white chocolate. You can use any type of flour- whether it's regular, rice, or a gluten-free option.

Dried Apple and Banana Chips

Dried apples are fun for your kid to make, so he or she will be more likely to eat them. Just cut the apple into thin slices, hang it up to dry, and wait for a week or so. Banana chips are also an easy way to get a fruit serving.

[Image 1] [Image 2]

 

Quick Snacks

Homemade Popsicles

Quick Snacks for on the Go Families

It can be challenging to eat healthy when on the go. As a busy family, you're probably consumed with running around for sports and dance practices, school, work and entertainment with hardly any time to prepare a healthy meal. Forget the drive-thrus and prepare an easy frozen snack that you can make ahead of time. If you have a couple of go-to recipes you can fall back on when preparing frozen snacks ahead of time, you're all set. All you have to do as you head out the door is microwave these treats or just eat them as is. If you plan ahead, you can leave them out on the counter for a bit to thaw.

Veggie Muffins

OK, you may want to change the name so your kids will actually eat them, but these to-die-for baked goods are perfect for grabbing on the way to school. They're single serve, too, so take one, or take a bunch. Kids can toss a frozen one into their lunch bags and it's thawed by morning snack. These muffins are packed with vegetables as well as applesauce and orange juice for a kick of sweetness.

You'll need an egg, 3/4 cups OJ, 1/2 cup applesauce, just a 1/4 cup sugar (sweet!), one cup each of white flour and whole wheat flour, one tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt to taste, one tsp. cinnamon, one cup each of shredded carrot and zucchini, and 1/2 cup raisins. Simply beat the egg in a bowl, add the juice, applesauce and sugar, followed by the blended dry ingredients and the fruit. Mix until moist, then fill cupcake pans 2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Freeze individually, and thaw as needed.

Peanut Butter Pizzazz

For a healthy frozen snack you can make ahead, go for peanut butter for a punch of protein and fiber. Mix peanut butter with your kid's favorite yogurt, add some raspberries and place in pop-shaped plastic containers to store in the freezer. Need a quick snack? Grab a pop and go. Protein, calcium and fruit all in one!

When incorporating frozen snacks into your daily routine, keep in mind that organizing and labeling is key. Mark the date on the frozen treats you make to ensure their utmost freshness. Stack neatly in the freezer or throw them in the ice bin, depending on the size and space. You won't mind when your kids help themselves to these snacks!