Make lunches healthier…. less fat, less refined carbohydrates.
Use romaine instead of iceberg lettuce, brown rice instead of white rice or fries.
Watch out for lunch meat and hot dogs with nitrates! Try Hormel Natural Choice Deli Lunch Meat and nitrate free hot dogs at Trader Joe’s.
Buy whole wheat or whole grain bread instead of white. The first word in the ingredient list must be “WHOLE!” The loaf that weighs more is the one you should buy!
Buy whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat pita bread! The whole wheat tortillas at Trader Joe’s do not contain lard or hydrogenated oil!
Lunch Box Basics for Kids
- Kids need protein for growing bodies! About 2 ounces of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs (1 hardboiled), peanut butter (4 tbs.), tofu, or beans (1/2 cup) should always be in their lunch box. Milk or Soymilk is a source of protein and calcium and is better than a juice box. A cup of milk is also quite satisfying to a little tummy.
- Include a fruit or two ~ ½ cup counts as a serving so a whole apple counts as 2 servings! Include at least ¾ cup of veggies. Try Just Tomatoes Veggies found at Henry’s and Juice Plus+ Gummies for something sweet!
- A slice of bread or other carbohydrate like crackers, low sugar cookies, or maybe even a waffle or pancake.
- Kids need fat too, so a teaspoon of butter won’t hurt! Just don’t overload on it and definitely, leave out the hydrogenated fats! Salmon or tuna also packs some important Omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts and avocado are a source of healthy fats too!
Kids like a colorful variety!
Leftovers for Lunch
- Prepare a day ahead of time! Throw an extra piece of chicken on the grill at dinner time for tomorrow’s lunch!
- Utilize your leftovers! Make an extra serving of a pasta or rice dish that will travel well the next day!
- Throw last night’s lean meat on top of a salad with some low fat dressing like Trader Joe’s or Drew’s.
- Combine last night’s steamed veggies with some brown rice and a good vinaigrette dressing. Top with grated cheese!
- Baked potato topped with steamed veggies and low fat grated cheese
- Egg salad with low fat mayo on whole wheat bread
- Tuna salad with low fat mayo and chopped raw veggies on whole wheat bread
- A mixed green salad topped with avocado and tuna salad.
- Low fat cream cheese, avocado, and tomato wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
- Nut butters and 100% fruit jam or jelly or honey
- Nut butter and strawberry, apple or banana slices
- Nut butter sandwiches on small, whole wheat crackers
- Nut butter 100% fruit jam or jelly on a whole grain bagel
Wrap it up!
- Refried beans with red bell pepper slices & salsa in a tortilla wrap
- Black beans, salsa, brown rice, and grated cheese wrapped in a tortilla
- Nut butter and grated carrot in a wrap
- Nut butter with sliced bananas rolled up inside a tortilla
- Hummus with sliced & sautéed mushrooms in a whole wheat tortilla
- Hummus, shredded carrots and celery inside a tortilla
Make a healthy quesadilla!
Use a whole wheat tortilla, low fat cheddar cheese, and some diced up chicken breast from last night’s dinner! Include salsa for dipping! Healthy Snacks
Fresh fruit in season
- A ripe banana
- 100% applesauce
- A sliced apple with nut butter or sliced parmesan cheese
- Chopped up apple or peaches sprinkled with cinnamon
Have cut up vegetables in the refrigerator!
- Dip into hummus, cottage cheese with salsa, homemade guacamole, or reduced fat cream cheese!
- Apple, carrots, celery slices w/ nut butter to dip
- Carrots, celery & pita bread triangles w/hummus for dipping
- Jicama sticks with dip
- Nut butter sandwiches made with whole wheat crackers
- Sliced low fat cheese and whole wheat crackers
- Half of a whole wheat bagel spread with low-fat cream cheese and/or all fruit spread
- Air popped popcorn sprinkled with sea salt and nutritional yeast, which tastes like cheese!
- Make your own trail mix! Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of dried fruits and raw nuts!
- Freeze dried fruits and veggies from Trader Joe’s or JustTomatoes.com
- Trader Joe’s yogurt cups or soy yogurt
- Low fat cottage cheese topped with cut up fruit or veggies
- Reduced fat mozzarella sticks
- Trader Joe’s Fruit Leather
- Trader Joe’s granola bars and cereal bars
- Dry cereal like Kashi Mighty Bites or Heart to Heart
- Whole wheat pretzels with mustard
- Leftover whole grain pancakes and waffles
- A homemade low-fat muffin
- A homemade smoothie
- Think Organic, Kind, LARA, or Cliff Nectar Bars
- Hard boiled eggs
- Edemame (Soybeans)
- Chocolate syrup drizzled over a bowl of chopped fruit
- Juice Plus+ Gummies Liquids
Milk or water is the best choice for kids’ lunches instead of soda, Gatorade, or juice boxes.