In some ways, it seems like school just started yesterday. In others, it seems like an eon ago. Good nutrition is essential to staying sharp during the school day, but no one likes turkey on wheat for five days straight (or five weeks straight at this point). Beat brown bag boredom by filling your child’s Frecklebox lunch box (hint hint) with these five easy, exciting and healthy recipes that will get you through the school week.
Monday: A Tasty Wrap
For a new twist on the traditional sandwich, substitute a whole-wheat pita or tortilla for bread. Here are some simple ideas for yummy fillings:
- Classic: Turkey or ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce, sliced red bell peppers and honey mustard
- Greek: Cooked chicken (diced or shredded), feta cheese, diced olives and cucumbers and a spoonful or two of hummus
- Veggie: Sliced bell peppers, sprouts cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach and any other favorite vegetables and a generous serving of herbed spreadable cheese
Tuesday: Bagel Pizza Sandwich
Create a delicious treat that is half sandwich, half pizza. Spread marinara sauce on both sides of a whole-wheat bagel, and top with slices of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni or salami, bell peppers, olives or other favorite veggies. Put both sides of the bagel together, slice in half and serve sandwich style.
Wednesday: Crunchy Tuna Salad
Fill a small food storage bowl with this fresh and filling tuna salad, and serve with crackers, pita chips or sliced carrots and celery sticks. Mix canned tuna with diced celery, carrots and onions, and add chopped pickles or a spoonful of pickle relish if you want a bit of zest. Stir in a few spoonfuls of mayonnaise, hummus, salad dressing or plain yogurt, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Include a bag of crispy wonton strips or fried onion sticks to mix into the salad just before eating. For a different variation, try this recipe with canned chicken, crabmeat or boiled shrimp.
Thursday: Easy Pasta Salad
This recipe is great to make in a big batch for a dinner side dish, then eat as leftovers the rest of the week. You can adjust the vegetables depending on the season and tweak for your family’s preferences. Mix cooked pasta (bowtie and other fun shapes are a hit with kids) with diced tomatoes, celery, red bell pepper, marinated artichoke hearts and sautéed broccoli and summer squash. Toss with a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese, and add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. It tastes just as good cold as it does warm!
Friday: Fun With Peanut Butter
The same old PB&J sandwich can get boring after awhile, but try these fun alternatives:
- Peanut butter and honey triangles: Spread peanut butter and honey on bread or tortillas and cut into small, bite-sized triangles
- Ants on a log: Fill small celery sticks with peanut butter and arrange raisins along the top
- Peanut butter dip: Fill a small bowl with peanut butter and include different sliced fruits and veggies to dip (favorites are apples, celery, carrots and bananas)
What are your secrets for creating a delicious and nutritious lunch? What meals are always a hit with your kids?