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Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Healthy Lunchbox Ideas!

Most kids only have 20 minutes for lunch at school. In that time, they need to find a seat, unpack their lunch, eat, and pack up again. Plus, lunch is a social break from their studies. Make sure they eat during the break so they are fueled for the rest of their day by including enough healthy choices (that are low in sugar and high in nutrition) that are easy to eat (i.e. cut up their fruit, have everything already assembled)

If your kids will only eat "blue shark fruit roll ups" and pre-packaged lunch-box kits, work together with them to create a chart of healthy choices they WILL eat and be sure to pack those. It does take a little more time and effort on everyone's part - but it is worth it. Eating a healthy diet helps people feel better, have more energy, and helps people to concentrate and learn. Studies have shown behavior to improve with a healthy diet ( )

Consider makeing a chart with ideas from which to choose. Include a "growing food" / protein source, a vegetable and a fruit. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Growing Food/protein source:

- Hummus Dip and whole grain pita triangles or whole grain crackers
- Yogurt (watch for sugar content - but please do not choose artificially sweeteners)
- Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup
- Sandwich with baked or grilled chicken (leftover from night before) on whole grain bread
- Black bean salad w/ corn tortilla chips (choose organic chips if you can)
- Small container of tamari-roasted almonds or other nuts
- Peanut butter sandwich with banana slices
- Hard Boiled Egg (already peeled, please!)
- Peanut butter on a whole grain rice cake

Healthy Wraps (make sure ingredients are dried well before you add them, so you don't end with a soggy mess!)
- leftover chicken or shrimp, shredded lettuce, cheese
- black bean salad wrap
- beans and rice with shredded lettuce
- hummus with sprouts and tomatoes


- Carrot sticks, red or green pepper strips with dressing for dipping
- Zucchini muffin (see recipe below)
- Steamed Edamame (shelled)
- Roasted carrots (leftover from night before)
- Cucumber slices
- Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds (leftover from night before: wash and slice sweet potato into 1/4 inch thick rounds, skin on. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with a little salt and paprika or cumin - roast on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes)
- lightly steamed green beans
- snow peas
- small salad loaded with their favorite things: craisins, carrots, sunflower seeds, etc. (Be sure to tear lettuce into small easy-to-eat pieces)


- Apple slices (Cut it up for them! Sprinkle with a little lemon or orange juice so they don't get brown)
- Grapes
- Peach slices
- Cut up melon
- Strawberries
- Homemade Applesauce (recipe below)
- Mandarin oranges (packed in juice, not syrup)

Fun Recipes you and your child can make together!

Home Made Applesauce

12 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly

2 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp cinnamon)

1/8 tsp salt

2 - 3 TBS honey

Combine ingredients, bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered about 15 minutes. Mash with potato masher.

Zucchini Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins - make a double batch,wrap them individually, and freeze them - then pop one in the lunchbox once in a while)

2 eggs

½ cup oil

¾ cup brown sugar

½ tsp vanilla

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup flax seed meal (optional)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cardamom

½ cup raisins (or craisins or blueberries)

PreHeat oven to 350. Combine wet ingredients in large bowl. Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, do not overmix! Place cupcake papers in tin. Fill muffin tins ¾ full. Bake 20 -25 minutes

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