The school year is in full swing, but that doesn't mean your kid's health has to hit the road with the school bus. In fact, kids' eating habits can improve during the school year if you plan their lunch box fixings just right. The key is to pair flavor with bulk and to sneak in a few tricks so they don't think they're eating anything different from their classmates. The following six healthy lunch ideas are just a few ways to sneak nutrition into your kid's lunchbox.
One of the easiest healthy lunch ideas to execute in a hurry, the burrito is a wonderful way to add a fiesta to your kid's lunch and bring some diversity to the palette. Nix the meat and cheese, and focus on spices and texture. Wrap a whole-grain or whole-wheat tortilla around lettuce leaves, black beans, onions, tomtoes, cooked brown rice or quinoa, avocado, and vegan "cheese".
2. Raw Oreo Dessert
What's a kid's lunch without the sweets? This recipe gluten-free raw oreos can be frozen before packing up, so they keep throughout the day. There are only 6 ingredients to it -- cocoa powder, dates, walnuts, sea salt, vanilla, and coconut butter. Not only will your kid be full of heart-healthy nuts, antioxidant-packed dates, and delicious coconut butter, she'll also become the envy of the playground!
3. Homemade, Junk-free Trail Mix
Contrary to popular belief, the granola and trail mix you find at supermarkets isn't always the most healthy of options. Sugar is a common culprit and is often disguised as something else, like high-fructose corn syrup or brown rice syrup. Eliminate the mystery by making your own trail mix and packing it up in zip-lock bags.
4. Cauliflower Pizza
Cauliflower crust pizza takes out the empty carbs from your children's diet. There are many recipes for this circulating the internet. And while cheese or yogurt may be involved, be sure to choose goat or sheep-based diary, which are lower in the hard-to-digest and potentially dangerous health implications of the protein casein.
5. Sugar-free, Fat-free Oatmeal Cookies
I've been making this oatmeal cookie recipe for years. It's vegan and devoid of added oils and sugars! Kids will adore them, because not only do they carry a cinnamon-banana-raisin taste, but also provide kids with a cookie experience without even knowing that these oatmeal raisin cookies are good for them! Here's the recipe:
- 1.5 cups oatmeal
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1/2 cup-3/4 cup raisins
Directions: Mash the banana with a fork and mix with applesauce until evenly combined. In a separate, larger bowl, mix together the oatmeal, cinnamon, and sea salt. Add the applesauce banana mixture to the dry ingredients and fold until combined. Add the raisins or any other chopped dried fruit (dried figs and apricots work wonders!) Fold the mixture thoroughly. Create flat cookines with clean hands and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
6. Whole-Wheat Bagel and Avocado Sandwich
Bagels are a fun way to switch the lunchbox sandwich up. Use a whole-grain or whole-wheat variety and slather on mustard before added slices of tomato, green leaves, and slices of avocado. Season with sea salt and black pepper before topping it off with the othe half of the bagel. Slice in half and seal in a zip-lock bag. The avocado provides healty fats to keep your kid's brain working at its optimal level as well as more depth of flavor, texture, and taste. Get creative with other add ins such as roasted zucchini and eggplant, cabbage, and sun-dried tomatoes.
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