When it comes to school lunch, FirstHealth Fitness dietitian Ashley Carpenter has established a formula that any parent can follow. And with a little prep, your kids will have things to choose from each morning so that they can *gasp* make their own lunch.
- A Protein Source: rolled up turkey or ham deli meat around a cheese stick, Greek yogurt, hummus, cottage cheese, edamame, peanut butter sandwich, bean and quinoa salad, boiled egg, bean burrito, bean and cheese quesadilla, deli sandwich, etc.
- Vegetables: frozen peas and carrots (they’ll thaw by lunch), any cut raw veggies with a dip such as hummus, peanut butter, or salad dressing, etc.
- Fruit: sliced apples, grapes, clementine or cut oranges, berries, cut melon or pineapple, banana, unsweetened applesauce or fruit cup (in own juice), etc.
- Sides/Other: pretzels, pasta salad, crackers, baked chips, granola bar, cheese stick, yogurt, popcorn, graham crackers, trail mix, tortilla chips and salsa, etc.
And, Some Recipes That Use It
ENGLISH MUFFIN PIZZA: Mini-pizza using whole grain English muffins, topped with sauce and mozzarella cheese (can melt under broiled). Alternative: cooked cheese tortellini with pizza sauce to dip. Pair with carrots and hummus for added protein, and finish it off with fruit and a “fun” food of choice.
NACHOS: Can use leftover chicken for protein, with salsa and guacamole for dipping. Paired with cheese cubes, tortilla chip “scoops”, a fruit, a raw veggie or lettuce/tomato, and a “fun” food of choice. Keep chips separate so they don’t get soggy.
NUT/SEED BUTTER AND BANANA SUSHI: Spread nut/seed butter on whole grain tortilla. Top with banana slices and sprinkle of cinnamon. Rollup and slice into bite-size pieces. Pair with veggies and ranch dip (made with plain Greek yogurt), blueberries, and a “fun” food of choice. 100daysofrealfood.com has a good recipe for ranch dip
MINI NO-COOK BURRITOS: Instead of a large one, make two or three mini-sized burritos with small (like street taco size) whole grain tortillas filled with pinto or black bean dip, shredded cheese, and lettuce – plus a side of salsa or guac for dipping. Pair with a fruit and baby carrots or sliced bell peppers, and a “fun” food.
FUN FOOD EXAMPLES: Small snack packs of goldfish, 2 small cookies, mini candy bar, 4 hershey kisses, popcorn, etc.
If you’d like nutrition guidance for your family or yourself, call FirstHealth Fitness dietitian, Ashley Carpenter, RD at (910) 715-2674 to schedule an appointment.