School's out and lunch box packing is on hold for the summer. Phewf! Although home lunches may seem easier than packing school lunches, there are only so many peanut butter and jam sandwiches that your kids will eat (I say this, because this is often the lunch option that I often fall back on when I'm stumped for ideas). It's important that kids eat a balanced, nutritious lunch including high quality protein, carbohydrates for energy, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. Even though this translates into "healthy", for us parents, it doesn't have to translate into "boring" or "blah" for our kids. In fact, it can mean fun and delicious. Here are five of our go-to lunch options that are kid-approved:
In between two slices of whole grain bread, place just-made (or warmed left-over) scrambled eggs (enough to cover one slice of bread), two to three thin slices of cheese, and tomato slices (ketchup optional). Allow cheese to melt and slice into quarters or halves. Serve with raw veggies and hummus and/or cut up fruit.
Combine 1/2-3/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla), 3/4 cup frozen berries or other fruit, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (or 1 tbsp seeds such as flax, hemp or chia), large handful (or two) of greens such as kale or spinach, 2 tbsp rolled oats (optional) in a blender. Add just enough milk to cover 3/4 of the ingredients. Start blending. Add more milk it needed and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Take leftover French toast (I always make extra on the weekend for easy weekday breakfast or lunches), and cut into small squares. Alternating with chunks of your favourite fresh fruit, skewer the French toast pieces (or just make a French toast fruit salad in a bowl for little ones). In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, 1.5 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp chia seeds (optional) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve skewers with dip and your kids will gobble them up!
* original recipe credit to: Alberta Milk's "More About Milk" blog
I know this one is super simple, and some may think not-so-nutritious, but I'm a real Mom who uses some boxed, packaged products from time to time for the sake of convenience (and to add fun to our meal and snack rotations). You can use a boxed mac and cheese that you like (I like Annie's organic white cheese shells), add frozen peas (this not only adds nutrition, but also cools the mac and cheese down!) and voila! I usually serve with raw veggies and dip.
Here's a super quick homemade mac and cheese recipe if you have a bit more time to spare.
A you can see, I cook with eggs a lot because they're so versatile and easy to work with. I make frittatas a lot, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and just add whatever veggies and leftover meat we have in the fridge.
1 cup chopped veggies such as mushrooms, tomato, and bell peppers
1 large handful of fresh spinach
6 large eggs
1/3 cup 1% milk
½ cup cheese grated
2 tsp butter for sautéing
Salt and pepper to taste
Want to make the muffin-tin version instead? Skip the stove-top and add egg mixture directly to greased muffin-tins. Place in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes!
*Original recipe found here: More About Milk: Sarah's Suppertime Frittata
Top whole grain bread with a thick slice of tomato and then cheese. Place under the broiler in your oven or toaster oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with raw veggies and hummus.
These delicious two-ingredient banana pancakes have been a hit since I posted them on the blog a couple of months ago in my "Breakfast Outside the Box" series. My kids love them, so I've decided to add them to our lunch rotation regularly. We serve them with Greek yogurt and berries or topped with peanut butter (and alongside cut-up fruit).
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat on the stove and melt 1 tsp of butter. Make holes in two slices of whole grain bread and place the bread in the frying pan. Crack an egg into each hole. Flip when golden brown. Serve alongside veggies and dip or fresh fruit. My kids like a bit cheese melted on top of theirs.
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