Let’s face it: a sandwich is one of the easiest – and cheapest – lunches to pack. But kids (and adults) can quickly get burned out with the same old, same old turkey sandwich.
So how do you pack crave-worthy and nutritious lunches that you and your kids will actually want to eat? It takes a little planning, but if you manage to pull it off, bringing your lunch (at least occasionally) can benefit your body and your wallet.
Add a little variety by mixing and matching choices from each of these 3 groups to ensure a nutritiously balanced lunch that won’t end up in the trash can.
Beyond Deli Meat: Protein-Rich Foods
- Chicken, cut into strips for dipping or rolling into tortilla
- Chicken salad made with Greek yogurt
- Greek yogurt – Oikos Triple Zero
- Peanut butter, Almond Butter, SunButter packs
- Hard-boiled eggs
Fresh Fruit and/or Veggie Packets
- Apples (+ nut butter, nuts, cheese)
- Fresh Veggies: Jicama sticks, baby carrots, edamame, snap peas, celery, etc (+ (with Greek yogurt dip)
- Fresh fruit
- Freeze-dried fruit packets
- Nuts – individual packets
- Guacamole – single-serving tubs of guac or avocado
- Hummus packs
- Greek yogurt dips – single-serving pack
- Popcorn – Air-popped popcorn pack
- Whole grain chips (e.g. Beanitos)
- Whole grain crackers (e.g. Mary’s Gone Crackers or Triscuit Thins)
Involve kids in the planning process. A nutritious lunch doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to take a ton of time. Talk with kids to find out their favorite treats. Engage them in helping with the shopping list, giving them a range of healthful options to choose from so they can help build their own nutritious lunch that will not only put a smile on their face, but also to help to fuel them through their day.
Want more from Molly? Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune! And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @MollyKimballRD