Great School Lunches
Do you remember the kid in the school cafeteria who always wanted to trade his apple for the cupcake that your mom packed for you? Or were you that kid with the orange when everyone else had brownies? School lunches are often swapped in the lunch room. At UAMS, we understand the need for healthy school lunches, but also recognize the need to make your child to want to keep his/her lunch and not swap it for something more appetizing.
First, let your child help pack the lunch. Then you will know right away if this is something that he or she is not going to want to eat.
Try to spice up sandwiches. Try making a wrap with a whole-wheat tortilla or using English muffins, fresh wheat rolls or a pita pocket. Also, switching condiments can go a long way. You might want to think about using salsa with your wrap or honey mustard instead of plain mustard.
If your child is tired of bread in any form, think about creating a homemade lunchable, which is healthier and cheaper than packages purchased in the grocery store. Pack some crackers with small slices of cheese and your child’s favorite lunchmeat. Put in some of the leftover condiment packets from your last take-out.
Including fruit and vegetables is important, but do it in a way that makes your kids want to eat them. Try cutting up pieces of fruit and putting them on a Popsicle stick like a kebab. For vegetables, consider packing baby carrots, ears of baby corn and cherry tomatoes. These will save you time by not having to cut up vegetables. Be sure to include something for the kids to dip the fruits and vegetables in.
It might be a good idea to take advantage of the prepackaged healthy products that come in more appealing packages and wrappers for kids, such as trail mixes, yogurt, pudding and smoothies.
Pack low-sugar drinks, instead of traditional juice boxes. You could also include flavored water or a bottle of water with flavor packets to let the kids mix it up themselves.
Children have their own ideas of what’s cool, and those ideas may not be very nutritious. At UAMS, we want to help you create healthy school lunches that won’t have your child trading for the cupcake.
Easy and healthy recipes for your kids’ lunches
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
2 medium strawberries, sliced
¼ tsp. honey
Combine cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Spread the mixture on the bread and place sliced strawberries on a slice of bread and top with the other slice of bread.
Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwich
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 Tbsp. of peanut butter
1 small apple peeled and thinly sliced
Spread peanut butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Place slices of apple on the peanut butter and place other slice of bread on top.
1 lb. of bacon (or turkey bacon), cut into 1 inch pieces
4 (12″) whole wheat tortillas
1 cup of shredded cheese
½ head of lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, diced (or package of cherry tomatoes halved)
Cook bacon. Drain and set aside. Place one tortilla on a microwave-safe plate. Sprinkle tortilla with ¼ cup of cheese. Cook in microwave until cheese is melted (about 1-2 minutes). Immediately top with ¼ of the bacon, lettuce and tomato. Fold sides of tortilla over; then roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. You can also cut each wrap in half to make it easier to eat.