The story of how children’s lunchtime fare has evolved into what it is today is far from a fairy tale. But, instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the food industry, we thought we’d share our favorite quick, simple, and delicious whole-food recipes for your little one’s lunchbox.
Chicken Tostada with Pico de Gallo
With this Mexican-inspired tostada, filling fiber and protein will keep your little ones satisfied until school’s out. For a drink, make a quick mock horchata by shaking vanilla almond milk with a pinch of cinnamon and cocoa powder.
Tostada: 1 tostada shell, 1/4 cup cooked chicken, diced, ½ cup cooked brown rice, ½ cup pico de gallo, ½ avocado diced
Beverage: 1 cup vanilla almond milk, pinch cinnamon and cocoa powder
Side: 1 apple
491 calories, 73g carbohydrates, 17g fat, 17g protein, 382mg sodium, 28g sugar
Nut Butter and Honey on Raisin Bread
Make the old standby sparkle with a few healthy swaps. Trade white bread for whole-grain cinnamon raisin, available in gluten-free, swap processed peanut butter for almond butter, and say sayonara to high-fructose corn syrup in favor of honey.
Sandwich: 2 slices gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1 tablespoon honey
Beverage: 1 cup milk
Side: ½ cup baby carrots
643 calories, 78g carbohydrates, 32g fat, 16g protein, 429mg sodium, 46g sugar
Granola and Berry Parfait
Who says you can’t have dessert for lunch? Our version of the granola and berry parfait skips the sugary yogurt and granola in favor of healthier versions. Top it off with sliced almonds and you’ll have a lunch that your kids will love.
Parfait: ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup natural granola, ½ cup fresh berries, 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
389 calories, 44g carbohydrates, 13g fat, 22g protein, 76mg sodium, 18g sugar
Fruit and Vegetable Rice Paper Wraps
Combine cucumber, mango, and red pepper in these simple rice paper wraps. If you have a more adventurous eater, offer a small container of Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.
Wraps: 3 rice paper wraps, soaked until soft, 2-inch long strips of assorted fruits and vegetables
Beverage: unsweetened coconut water
Side: Key-Lime Pie Larabar
524 calories, 107g carbohydrates, 10g fat, 5g protein, 160mg sodium, 35g sugar
Steaming Chicken, Noodle, and Veggie Pot
These simple noodle pots are easy to prepare the night before, so all you have to do is heat up the broth and pop it into a thermal container in the morning. They’re perfect for warming up your munchkins after a chilly recess. With its decadent but kind dessert, we’re sure you’ll sneak this lunch into your workday as well.
Chicken, Noodle, and Veggie Pot: 2 ounces cooked chicken, diced; 1 ounce cooked noodles; 4 blanched green beans, halved; 4 button mushrooms, halved; 6 ounces chicken broth, heated and stored separately until ready to enjoy.
Side: Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew Kind Bar