Summer vacation is over and our back to school routine has once again taken over our lives. Part of that routine involves parents taking the role of a nutritionist, chef and magician and packing a healthy lunch for the kids that is easy to prepare and fun to eat. To add to that challenge, you must also use inexpensive staple foods in your home that are flavorful and nutritious.
Below are three of my family’s favorite back to school lunches. All of them can be mixed and matched with your children’s favorite ingredients and paired up with a favorite fruit or healthy dessert.
Fun Size Pizzas
Kids can’t resist pizza. What better way to surprise them than by packing mini versions of their favorite treat.
1 whole wheat English muffin
2 tbsp pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
2 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
2 slices of salami (or pepperoni or ham), each cut in half
2 zucchini rounds, each cut in half
On each English muffin slice spread 1tbsp of sauce, 1tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese, two half slices of salami and two half slices of zucchini rounds. Place in toaster over long enough to melt cheese. Serve with a favorite fruit.
Cute food shapes and containers such as bento boxes make meal-time 10 times more fun. Use cookie cutters to cut fruit, bread or tortillas.
1 whole wheat flour tortilla
1 tbsp cream cheese at room temperature
1 tbsp avocado
8 spinach leaves
2 thin slices of your favorite deli meat
In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and avocado by stirring with spoon. Spread mixture evenly on warm tortilla. Add a layer of spinach and top with deli meat slices. Roll tortilla carefully keeping layers in place.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Slice in 1-inch pieces.
Hummus, Turkey & Swiss Pita with Cucumber
Hummus is the perfect substitution for mayo. It is high in fiber, iron and vitamin C.
1 whole wheat pita pocket
2 tbsp hummus
5 cucumber rounds
1 slice Swiss cheese
1-3 slices of turkey ham (depending on width of slice)
2 large lettuce leaves
2 tomato slices
Toast pita in toaster oven (can be eaten cold too). Open and evenly spread hummus dip. Carefully tuck in lettuce, turkey ham, cucumber, tomato and cheese. Enjoy with a favorite fruit.