We're a few months into the school year and, by now,you're probably thinking that junior's lunches are getting a bit redundant and tired. Studies have shown that kids who eat well learn well (naturally!) so here are six great, easy and healthy lunch ideas to keep yourself and your kid interested at recess! All recipes are nutritionally balanced and contain enough protein to feed your child's growing mind and body.
1.) Pear and Chicken Salad
This is a great recipe for using leftover grilled chicken breast. Toss multigrain bread in 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil and spread on a baking pan to toast in a 375°F oven. In the meantime, slice the pear leaving the central core for the scrap bin. Then whisk 2 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. In an airtight container, layer lettuce, red onion, olives (if your kid likes them!), pear slices and sliced chicken breast. Add dressing and croutons from the oven and serve!
2.) Tomato and Chickpea Salad
For your dressing, whisk together 1 clove of minced garlic, 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and pepper. Then add drained and rinsed canned chickpeas, diced cucumber, diced carrot, a chopped green onion and a quarter cup of crumbled feta cheese. Add a diced tomato at the end and stir to combine.
3.) Perfect Tuna Sandwiches
In a bowl, stir a can of drained tuna, 2 tbsp of mayonnaise or extra virgin olive oil, a chopped green onion, finely chopped black olives, 2 tsp of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Spread onto multigrain or sprouted grain bread, top with lettuce and cucumber and serve with carrot sticks.
4.) Pesto Pasta Salad
As another way to use leftover grilled chicken breast, this pesto pasta is easy and delicious. Start by heating a skillet and putting in extra virgin olive oil and a basil pesto paste. Add lemon zest and juice, as well as fresh basil, ground pepper and a couple cloves of crushed garlic. Sauté until aromatic. Add ripped swiss chard until wilted. Mix with cooked bowtie pasta. Toss and let cool.
5.) Golden Onion Frittata
In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook 2 sliced onions with 1 tbsp of fresh chopped thyme. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper. In a seperate bowl, beat 8 eggs and stir in a quarter cup of chopped flat leaf parsley. Pour over cooked onion mixture and reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Then broil until the top is golden and set and cut into wedges prior to packing for lunch. Serve with salad.
6.) Chef's Salad Wrap
Hardboil 4 eggs before peeling and slicing them. In a seperate bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1tsp dijon mustard. Add torn romaine lettuce, diced cucumbers, 1tbsp of chopped chives and thinly sliced radishes. In the center of a tortilla or brown rice wrap, place a slice of cheddar cheese, a slice of deli turkey and a quarter of the sliced eggs. Mound the salad mixture on top and close the wrap.
Don't forget to pack a water bottle and a few snacks to keep their learning brains fuelled throughout the school day, particularly if they have classes or clubs that involve physical activity.
This article was written by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician. She has been working for Optimum Health Vitamins since 2007, during which she has gained a deep appreciation and understanding for the complexities of human nutrtition, and has spent hundreds of hours researching the topic. Her current position is online media assistant - a job she currently enjoys from Morocco!
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.