If you’re like so many parents, you’re probably concerned that your child isn’t eating a healthy diet while he or she is at school. With the wide availability of lunchroom vending machines and the highly processed nature of school-provided lunches, many children are consuming too much junk and too few nutrients. Fortunately, packing lunches for them is an easy way to provide a healthier alternative.
Fruity Fresh Chicken Salad
Prepare chicken salad using chunk white-meat chicken, olive oil, mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon. Add a sprinkle of halved grapes, raisins or chopped apples and walnuts. This kid-friendly version of chicken salad goes great on multigrain crackers or between whole-wheat bread. Pair it with cheese, a juice box and carrot sticks.
Healthy Pizza Sandwich
Slice a tomato, chop a basil leaf and lay them on one slice of Italian bread. Next, add a spoonful of tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Top it off with the second slice of bread. This sandwich can even be toasted for a panini-like effect. Pack this with some grapes and gourmet sweets from John Wm. Macy for a no-mess dessert. Sugar-free fruit or vegetable juice will provide the rest of the vitamins needed to make this a nutritional lunch.
Lime Fiesta Drumsticks
First, juice two limes and grate the peels to make lime zest. Combine these with a quarter-cup of honey and a half-teaspoon of salt. Arrange six to eight chicken legs in a large casserole dish and brush the mixture over each one. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour. These are great served hot or cold, and they go well with apricot juice and baked potato chips.
Oven-Fried Fish and Chips
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Take catfish fillets or nuggets and dredge them in whole-wheat flour seasoned with garlic powder, salt and paprika, then lay the pieces on a foil-lined cookie sheet. These should bake for approximately half an hour, or until the fish is flaky and the surface is golden-brown.
Now for the chips. Cut potatoes into wedges, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle them lightly with seasoned salt. Bake them in the same fashion as the fish. Oven-fried fillets make excellent sandwiches with lettuce, while the nuggets can be eaten as a fun finger food and are ideal for dipping. Serve with tartar sauce, pickles, an apple and lemonade.
Packed lunches are a great way to not only provide your kids with extra nutrition but also teach them that healthy foods are tasty, too. Try one of these ideas for their next school lunch and they’re sure to be asking for more.