5 simple and healthy lunches you’ll love

5 simple and healthy lunches you’ll love

Packing a lunch for yourself and/or your child every day can get tiring.

Whether he or she isn’t eating what you send, you just don’t know what to pack or you’re tired of your own typical lunch, here are some healthy options both you and your kids will love.

1. Try some veggie strips, such as carrots or celery, and peanut butter for dip. This combines a healthy vegetable and something fun to eat it with. You can also send sliced apples or strawberries with peanut butter or yogurt. Dana Artinyan, dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, also suggests sunflower seed butter.

She explains, “Sunflower seed butter is a great allergen-free alternative to peanut butter. Or try hummus, guacamole or a Greek yogurt ranch dip (mix ranch seasoning into plain Greek yogurt) with vegetables such as cucumber, baby carrots or bell peppers.”

2. A thermal container can carry hot or cold soups. This is a great alternative to a sandwich.

3. If you decide to go the sandwich route, always check the ingredient list on your bread.

Artinyan explains, “The best options will list “whole” as the first word in the ingredient list. For example, ‘whole wheat’ or ‘whole grain‘.

For a fun sandwich idea, try a classic grilled cheese with tomato for an added vegetable bonus.

4. If you want to switch up your meals, try breakfast for lunch. Artinyan finds bringing two small pancakes, yogurt for dipping, fruit such as berries and a hard-boiled egg to be a great alternative to a sandwich.

5. Pizzas with naan or pita, tomato sauce, shredded cheese and toppings such as chopped chicken and bell peppers is another great option. You and your child can have fun while creating your own pizzas.

Although sending kids off with a healthy lunch that they love may be hard, Artinyan has a few tips and tricks. She insists that it can all be as simple as the presentation.

“Use a bento-style lunch box to give kids more options and allow them to pick and choose what they’d like to eat,” she says.

She also recommends to try “color-coordinated lunches; for example, a ‘yellow’ lunch with cheddar cheese cubes, a hard-boiled egg, yellow bell peppers and pineapple or banana. Include foods that you know your child likes along with 1-2 new items.”

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  1. Right, peanut butter. Because all schools allow that these days.

    • Sunflower seed butter and soy nut butter are great, peanut- and tree nut-free alternatives to peanut butter that most schools allow. Hope that helps!

  2. That is why she made the comment about the sunflower seed butter. That is a good allergy free alternative that schools would allow. Maybe try to read the whole thing before making snide comments.

  3. “Whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient would be safer to look for than ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat’. Companies are very tricky with nutrition labels. Nice article 🙂

  4. Watch out for soups with lots of sodium!!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.