It’s mid-October and I know all of you moms out there are tired and bored with packing the same lunches for your kids. Well, I’m sure your kids would love a change-up from the same lunch routine. What kid doesn’t want to show off a cool lunch? Below I’ve created 5 lunches that are not only “cool,” but also HEALTHY! You can also see me make these on NBC’s Charlotte Today Show. Making lunches fun and attractive is just one way to get kids to actually eat healthy food. Lunch is a great place to start! Also, a great way to get kids eating healthier is to let them pick out the lunches they’d like to have that week. It will make it easier on you! That’s what we all need, don’t we?
All of these recipes, plus 15 more can be found in my LunchBox Recipe Book. Also, to make it even more convenient, you can purchase the recipe book, lunchbox cube, spill proof dip container, and cookies cutter all-in-one in my LunchBox Kit.
1.) You’re a Star
Whole-grain sandwiches filled with turkey, cheese, romaine lettuce, and mustard
Honeydew melons with blueberries
Assorted bell peppers and celery
Instructions: Assemble sandwiches and cut into star shape using a star cookie butter. Slice melons and cut into star shape, add blueberries. Cut bell peppers into star shapes and slice celery into half moon shapes.
Kid Fit Tip: Look for hormone free, no nitrates turkey. I choose Applegate Farms. Also, I recommend Food for Life Ezekiel or Genesis bread. Whole-grains are important to our diet because they provide fiber along with important vitamins and minerals.
2.) Bug Bites
Butterfly Pasta Salad (recipe below)
Protein Mix Honey Bees
Ants on a Log
Instructions: Prepare butterfly pasta salad and protein recipe for honey bees. Slice celery and add nut butter; top with raisins.
Butterfly Pasta Salad Recipe
1 cup whole grain, organic butterfly pasta, cooked (or try Ancient Harvest gluten free organic quinoa pasta)
¼ cup sliced tomatoes
¼ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup sliced green pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp oregano/basil mix
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Cook pasta to instructions on package. Slice your vegetables. In a small bowl or mason jar, combine oil, vinegar, herbs, honey, Dijon, and vegetables in a medium bowl. Add dressing and place in a large container.
3.) Food on a Stick
Sandwich on a Stick (turkey, cheese, cucumber, tomato and romaine lettuce)
Fruit on a Stick (pineapple, watermelon, and strawberry with plain yogurt dip)
Veggies on a Stick (various bell peppers, cucumbers and cheese)
Instructions: Cut turkey, cheese, cucumber, tomato and lettuce into small squares and assemble onto small sticks. Cut fruit and veggies into round or square shapes and assemble. Place yogurt in dip container.
Kid Fit Tip: Plain, organic yogurt is best. Add sweetness with different fruits. This meal is packed with fruits and veggies to provide important vitamins and with cheese and yogurt to add necessary fats and proteins to fuel our kids throughout the day.
4.) Dip it
Celery Sticks, Carrot Sticks, and Green/Red Pepper Sticks with Homemade Hummus
Apple Sticks with Plain Yogurt
Pretzel Sticks (gluten-free varieties are available)
Instructions: Prepare hummus. Slice Celery, carrots, and peppers and apples into thin sticks for dipping.
Tip: Make a large batch of hummus once a week and enjoy it all week long!
5.) Sushi Bar
Sushi Roll (turkey, cheese, carrot, and cucumber)
Edamame and Carrot Salad
Dessert Sushi (Banana wrapped with homemade fruit strips(See recipe below), sprinkled with coconut)
Instructions: Wrap turkey and cheese around carrot and cucumber strips; secure with a small toothpick. Wrap fruit strips around whole banana and secure. Sprinkle with coconut. Prepare edamame and carrot salad; drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.
Homemade Fruit Strips Recipe:
2 ½-3 cups ripe or slightly over-ripe diced fruit
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Sweeten to taste: honey, xylitol, or a drop of stevia
Optional: seasonings, spices, extracts to taste
Preheat oven to lowest temperature available. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or the best option is a silicone baking mat (do not use foil, parchment, or waxed paper), and spread to 1/8 inch thick. Place in oven and bake for 6-8 hours, until center is not tacky anymore. Remove from oven and peel off of baking sheet. Cut into strips and roll in parchment or plastic. Store in airtight container or freezer.
Some of these items may seem foreign. However, I like to shop at Healthy Home Market in Davidson. There are also several other locations throughout Charlotte. They carry healthy deli meats, like Applegate Farms, organic, local produce and nutritious breads. The protein balls contain Shaklee Instant Protein. It is a non-GMO protein that can be found at http://bthealth.myshaklee.com. Also, my good friend, Jenny Paquette introduced me to All Natural Seasonsing and Spices by MyWildTree that I especially use in my hummas and quinoa recipes. I encourage you to try them. You can call her directly at 704-493-1019 or from her site at www.MyWildTree.com/EatWild. They also carry GREAT Grapeseed Oil and other oils.