Back-To-School Lunches & Snacks
It’s Elementary! Nutrition Can Be Delicious.To get kids to consume those thoughtfully prepared lunches, remember the basics: keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Another one: kids like foods in small compartments or containers—think Bento-style lunch boxes.
Kids love fruit, especially if it’s ABC (already been cut). Lemon juice keeps peeled and sliced apples, peaches, and pears from turning brown. Kids may not have enough time at lunch to peel an orange and eat it—pack easy-peel clementines or mineolas. Easy travelers include bananas, plus grapes, melon, kiwi, and berries in containers. For economy, flavor, and nutrition, pick seasonal fruits.
Another basic: veggies may require subterfuge! Pack baby carrots, raw snap peas, and string beans with hummus or salsa for dipping. (Make your own dip: process drained cannellini with a little olive oil and seasonings.) Salads with wagon wheel or bowtie pasta, chick peas, and bite-sized veggies are also a hit.
Say cheese! Cubes, slices, strings, or little rounds wrapped in bright red—kids like it all. While you’re in the dairy aisle, pick up a few yogurts. Hard cook eggs on the weekend to add protein to lunches. Offer favorite sandwich fillings in mini whole-wheat bagels, wraps, or small pitas. A supermarket rotisserie chicken makes many tasty lunches.
After school, kids crave frosty smoothies on warm autumn afternoons. Have a baggie of peeled banana chunks in your freezer. Toss a few in a blender with milk or orange juice; add berries, mango, or cantaloupe, and blend.
Written by Elaine Ambrose