Eating right is important, and as a member of the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living we know this is especially important for kids. Here are a handful of kid-friendly lunch recipes that are easy to prepare and pack away.
Quick and Easy Packed Lunches
Here are some easy-to-make recipes that feature tons of healthy (and tasty) ingredients:
- Chicken Noodle Soup: You can make soup on the stove or in a crockpot, and the ingredients are straightforward. You’ll need low-sodium chicken or veggie broth, chicken breast, veggies (carrots, celery, garlic, peas and tomatoes are a must) and noodles—preferably whole-grain.
- Burrito: Shake up the standard sandwich routine and opt for some tortillas or whole-grain wraps instead and make your kids some burritos for lunch. Add rice, black beans, chicken, low-fat cheese and fresh salsa to a tortilla—now you have a simple burrito that’s bound to be a winner in your house.
- Chicken Nuggets: Dice up some chicken, cover them with some breadcrumbs, and then bake the bite-sized bites. Twenty minutes later, you’ll have a nice healthy snack or part of a perfect school lunch.
- Homemade “Mini Meals”: Mix things up by making some homemade “Mini Meals.” Slice up protein (like turkey, sausage or baked chicken) and add some cheese (like low-fat mozzarella) to a container. In a separate container, add some crackers, a dip (like hummus) and include some veggies too. Throw in a healthy dessert like grapes or strawberries in a small Ziploc baggie to round out the meal.
- Turkey Salad Roll: diced turkey, almonds, seedless red grapes (halved), celery and mayo to a plastic container. Pack the container into a bag along with some citrus fruit (like oranges), a whole-wheat hot dog bun and a spoon so your child can add the salad to the bun whenever they’re ready.
- Turkey-Cheese Pita: This one’s easy! Make a pita-style sandwich using some pita bread, cream cheese, roasted turkey, cucumbers and baby spinach.
- BBQ Chicken and Sloppy Joes: Shred some rotisserie chicken, add chopped tomatoes, carrots. Then toss in some BBQ sauce, and mix everything together in a skillet over low to medium heat. Add some parsley and pack the mixture into a container. Add the container to a bag, and then also pack a whole-wheat bun, some fresh fruit and some chocolate chips for dessert.
- Chips and Dip: Did you know that you could make your own dip? Chop up some tomatoes, and then add some white onions, fresh cilantro and lime juice. Your child can snack on the dip with some flaxseed tortilla chips. You can also add some avocados and Greek yogurt to change up the texture of the dip.
- Tacos: Add shredded chicken and lettuce to a tortilla—pack this away in foil. Then mix together an avocado with lemon juice and shredded cheese. Place the avocado mixture into a sealed container, and place both the tortilla-in-foil and the container into a bag. When the child is ready to eat, they can combine the tortilla and the avocado mixture together.
- “Healthy” Fried Rice: Add scallions, carrots, peas, corn, water and soy sauce to a skillet and cook them with vegetable oil. Add brown rice and more water and soy sauce. Add a few more scallions, sesame seeds and chopped peanuts. Pack away in a sealed container.
- Breakfast Sandwich: Slice a bagel in half. Add cream cheese, bacon, a scrambled egg and two tomatoes slices to the bottom portion of a bagel. Add some more cream cheese to the top portion of the bagel, and then place the two portions together—now you have a protein-rich sandwich that’s perfect for breakfast or lunch!
SPARK is a research-based organization that provides award-winning, evidence-based programs for Physical Education (K-12), After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health and is a member of the Together Counts Program™. Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum, training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders worldwide. Visit www.sparkpe.org to download sample lesson plans, find grant opportunities, and register for free educational webinars and monthly eNewsletters.
For more healthy meal options check out these other articles from Together Counts!