Do you have a picky eater in your family? If so, the New Year may be the perfect time to kick off some new, healthier eating habits for the entire family – including a lunchbox makeover. When your children see that you and your spouse are focused on eating healthier for the New Year, it’ll be easier to convince them to try new, healthier alternatives too. All of us tend to get into a “rut”, so here are some kid-approved, tasty lunchbox make-over ideas.
Chicken Wraps. If you are like most busy households, chicken is often on the menu. What do you do with the leftovers? Instead of chicken sandwiches, try shredding the chicken, adding spices and goodies for making chicken salad (many versions available based on your preferences), and wrap it up with a soft tortilla. Sneak in celery, broccoli and even cranberries for a tasty, filling lunch box treat. And, if your child prefers a sandwich over a wrap, use their favorite bread instead.
Tomato Soup. Even kids not a fan of tomatoes often enjoy tomato soup! Food Network has a 10-minute homemade version by blending a can of whole tomatoes, celery, chicken broth, cream and seasonings. Put the soup in a thermos; add whole wheat crackers, and you’re warming up your child’s belly with a nutritious lunch! Find the complete recipe here.
Fruit and Oatmeal bars. For kids that seem to chat more than eat their lunches, making quick and easy Strawberry Oatmeal Bars can be ideal in a lunchbox. Packed with strawberry preserves and oats, it’s a great way to energize their lunches with something sweet but oh so nutritious too.
Take to School Taco Bar. There are many nights filled with sports and homework that the dinner menu needs to be easy. That’s why a “Taco Bar” works so well. Whip up the ground turkey or beef and then have the kids add what they want to the meat. Everybody wins! Why not incorporate this idea into their school lunches? All you need are their favorite toppings and some separate containers to make any day a “fiesta”.
Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Chicken. If your child is a fan of Chinese Food, this recipe will suit you well! With a quick prep time, all you really need is soba noodles (buckwheat), rotisserie chicken, and some yummy seasonings to make a unique lunch.
Macaroni and Cheese. Adding pasta to your child’s diet is a good way to add complex carbohydrates, keeping them fuller, longer. And, if your child participates in sports on a regular basis, adding pasta is a great way to keep them moving! By adding their favorite vegetable to their mac n’ cheese during lunch, they are also getting those extra nutrients their growing bodies need. We haven’t met many kids that don’t like mac n’ cheese, have you?
Other lunch box items, like Panko-Crusted Chicken Nuggets or chicken strips, can be incorporated into the “dinner and next day” lunch routine, too. Plus, many older kids enjoy helping make the panko batter for the chicken nuggets, getting involved in the “baked not fried” process.
Eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle starts at home. The Association of Childcare Physicians are here to offer tips that encourage a wellness routine for your household, offering ideas that can be adapted to suit your family’s needs. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw are available to discuss any dietary concerns you may have about your child. You may also call our office to schedule a “Meet and Greet” appointment if you are looking for a new pediatric physician. Our number is 618-235-2111 and you can contact us here.