A colorful diet adds more than just nutrient-packed compounds – it provides an abundance of flavor and visual appeal. Here are healthy school lunch ideas for kids that taste and look better.
You’ve been there, you pack a lunch and it comes back with hardly a bite taken. After all your hard work making sure your children get the nutrients they need, you want to see a few bites from each food group enjoyed! Here are many healthy school lunch ideas for kids that they’ll eat!
Kids’ Lunch Ideas
- Boost veggies with a serving of baby carrots, sliced red peppers, grape tomatoes or sliced cucumber to your brown bag lunch – serve a dip like hummus, Greek yogurt dip or their favorite dressing on the side if you desire.
- Try roasting all types of root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets with olive oil and fresh herbs-serve as a side dish to your meal.
- Enjoy a colorful salad or vegetable-based soup as your entrée.
- Make color reign – include diversity in your color choices, for example, red rice, orange peppers, green parsley, and blueberries make the lunch pop!
- Make baked French fries with sweet potatoes and/or red-skinned potatoes-cut potatoes into slices, drizzle with olive oil, and a dash of sea salt and pepper. Bake at 375 until golden brown -dip in low-fat sour cream for added calcium and flavor.
- Purchase a pre-made veggie platter for the family “appetizer”-this will keep the family busy while dinner is being prepared, then save left-overs for tomorrows lunch.
- Purchase frozen mixed vegetables that can be cooked quickly by steaming or microwaving-done in minutes! Season with olive oil and minced garlic or a splash of teriyaki sauce.
- Make a healthy chicken casserole with an assortment of 3 types of different color frozen veggies.
- Cook with soy sauce and herbs and they’ll taste just as good as fresh.
- Try adding finely grated carrots to your favorite spaghetti sauce. This adds a heaping dose of Vitamin A and a sweet taste that most children are certain to love.
- Sneak pureed vegetables into soups, salsas, and other store-bought food -watch this video on boosting veggies to learn how.
Making Packed Snacks Fun and Colorful
- Always suggest a fruit or vegetable option first when helping your child decide on a snack option to pack.
- By simply adding fun animal-shaped re-usable toothpicks (if age appropriate) to a plate of cut-up fruit or canned fruit in its own juice, kids will find eating more pleasurable and more likely to partake in the produce.
- Fun packaging appeals to kids, try to purchase fun re-usable containers to put the veggies and dip into for snack time.
- Trail mix or 100% fruit roll-ups are a great way to add dried fruit to your child’s diet-remember to encourage teeth brushing after they eat this sticky fruit.
- Small containers of fruit packed in its own juice make a quick and nutritious snack.
Learn other great tips by visiting our Nutrition Experts Section.