Lunch Ideas and Healthy Substitutions that Your Kids Will Love! | Veggiecation© a Culinary-Nutrition Education Program About Vegetables
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 11:48

Lunch Ideas and Healthy Substitutions that Your Kids Will Love!

Whether you have six kids or one, it’s a challenge to create five meals a week that are not only exciting to eat, but also maintain their flavor for the 3-4 hours between breakfast and lunch.  Some tips on how to create the perfect lunch for your child are to:

- include them when shopping

- make sure to consider the four main food groups (grain, protein, fruit, veggie) 

- Incorporate different textures and colors. 


Fuel your little ones brain and body with nutrient dense recipes and healthy substitutions.

Let’s start with nutrient dense recipes. 

Lunch Recipe 1: Whole Wheat Pasta Salad (make it the night before) with Parsley-Lemon Pesto (youtube video) and Blanched Broccoli Florets

  • We have a killer Parsley-Lemon Pesto Recipe that’s packed with the very nutrients that promotes fast thinking.  It’s a no brainer!


Lunch Recipe 2: A Carrot, Romaine, Cucumber Rice Paper Wrap with Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • Salads can be tricky to eat and they might just seem boring next the chicken fingers being served on the lunch line.  Jazz up a simple salad up with these gluten-free rice paper wraps and use our easy-to-make dressing to add flavor.  The carrots in this recipe provide kids with the calming and happy feeling they need to get through the day!


Lunch Recipe 3:  Zucchini, Pineapple, and Black Bean Salsa over Brown Rice

  • Kids go crazy for this sweet and savory salsa that boosts athletic ability.  Sub out the chips and make sure to let some of that juice drip onto the rice! (Link to recipe of the month)


How about those healthy substitutions?

Mayonnaise: As much as some love a little mayo, it’s packed with unhealthy fats and sodium.  Let’s leave it off the sandwich altogether.  If we’re talking a cold cut sandwich, use hummus or pesto rather than mayo.  Mayo serves as a spread and keeps bread moist – these two alternatives will do the same and provide brain powering nutrients.  If you are using it in a tuna salad, swap the mayo for some balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil – this will make it lighter and cleaner tasting.

Cookies:  Highly processed sugars and flours are never the way to go if you’re trying to promote whole, healthy foods in your household.  Blend 2 parts pitted date and 1 part pecan (walnuts and cashews also work) for this homemade sweet-treat.  The texture should be similar to that of Play-doh.  Mold into small balls with your hands.  Add dark chocolate chips for added flavor. The natural fibers, minerals, and nutrients in this will keep your little one energized throughout the day – without the sugar crash! Recipe here!

Chips:  High in sodium and calories, chips are not only a detriment to your health but they’re also addicting.  Substitute some homemade popcorn (it’s easier than you think!) with salt, garlic powder, and maybe some nutritional yeast to give a cheese-like flavor.  Alternatively, rice crackers are low calorie and provide the salty crunch that is most appealing about chips.   As always, check ingredients and the nutritional information before purchasing any product.

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