Brown Bag Blues: How to Prepare Quick and Healthy Lunches That Your Kids Will Actually Eat

Here are some great ideas to add healthy variety to get kids out of a lunch rut:

  • “Leftover” Lettuce Wraps: Wash a few pieces of romaine lettuce and put whatever leftovers you had from dinner onto the greens.  This is great for enjoying leftover barbeque chicken, steak and vegetables.  Add your child’s favorite vegetable toppings on as well, such as shredded carrots or mushrooms, and you turn one meal into two while making lunch a bit more appealing.
  • Vegetarian Friendly:  Toasted pita triangles, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes (or other veggies of your choice) served with a side of hummus to dip. Serve it with some trail mix that includes nuts and dried fruit (you can even try making your own).
  • Portable and Healthy: Try a wrap made with a whole wheat tortilla, grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, provolone cheese, kalamata olives and Caesar or ranch dressing (or make one with your favorite ingredients).
  • Pick-Me-Up Snack: Organic yogurt (any flavor you like), nitrite-free turkey or ham with whole crackers, raisins and cherry tomatoes or veggie snack of your choice.

For a smart and filling side, ditch the potato chips and choose some of these healthy and delicious snacks to include in your child’s lunch:

    • Dried Fruits: These are great for enjoying the flavor of the fruits you love without having to deal with them spoiling or getting bruised.
    • Crackers: Crackers are an easy to grab snack. Pair some whole grain crackers with e low-fat cheese for added protein. You can also enjoy graham crackers with your favorite natural nut butter as another delicious crunchy snack.
    • Low-Fat Cheese: String cheese or other cheese snack treats offer some protein and a different flavor and texture for kids to enjoy.
    • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein to help sustain and build lean muscle for kids. Try hard-boiling a bunch of eggs at the beginning of the week so they are ready for you to grab at any time. (Don’t forget to label them.)
    • Mixed Nuts: These not only have a long shelf life, but will give kids a great boost of energy to make it through the whole school day.
    • Mini-Bagels: These can be topped with great spreads, such as peanut butter and honey. You can even make mini-pizzas with a mini-bagel crust.
    • Pita Chips: These tasty treats offer a delicious crunch and are a great alternative to the less healthy fried potato chip.
    • Low-Fat Granola:  Great on its own or mixed with dried fruits and nuts to create a trail mix.
    • Fruit Cups: Another wonderful way to get in daily fruit servings without the mess.
    • Yogurt: Yogurt provides children with calcium for strong bones. There are many varieties and flavors to choose from. Try Greek yogurt for a tangier flavor and an extra kick of protein.

The truth is, when you eat better, you feel better.  Fill up on these healthy meals and snack ideas and encourage your family to eat healthy too.  Which idea will be your next favorite?

Photo Credit:  Melissa via Flickr

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    1. Read the label…if you are buying it at the deli counter ask them..but still ask to read the label. I know a few brands..Legacy and boars Head do have nitrate free meat, In the packed meat section, you can also find Hormel without nitrates..

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