Healthy Lunch Boxes for Kids and Adults

March 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm Leave a comment

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when packing lunches. When we can’t cook or even warm up our food, our options are somewhat limited. But the standard lunchmeat and cheese on bread with potato chips doesn’t do much for our health.

Sometimes we just need to think outside of the box (or in this case, the lunchbox). With some creativity, we can pack healthy lunches for ourselves and our kids. Here are a few suggestions:

Main Dishes:

* Make some pasta salad. You can find kits with everything you need in the grocery store, or you can make your own to suit your tastes. Include vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers and onions to add flavor and nutrition. For the kids, try using pasta in interesting shapes.

* Roll up a fajita. Use leftover meat from dinner the night before, and add lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and some of your favorite light dressing or sauce. These make a great change of pace for kids, too.

* Have a turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. This is healthy and provides a nice change.

* Toss up a grilled chicken salad. Grill some organic chicken breasts the night before, slice them up, and add them to some salad greens. Add some shredded cheese and cherry tomatoes to make a nutritious and filling dish.

* Put some homemade soup or chili in a thermos. It’s nice to have something warm for a change, especially in the winter.

* Make sandwiches with bagels instead of bread. Bagels are nutritious and filling, and they give you a break from plain old white or wheat bread.

Side Dishes:

* Pack some baby carrots, celery sticks or sliced cucumbers and a small container of hummus or vegetable dip.

* Send some yogurt with fruit and granola in your child’s lunch. It will provide protein, carbohydrates and vitamins that your child needs.

* Keep fresh fruit on hand. When you’re in a hurry, you can easily grab a piece and throw it in the lunchbox as a nutritious side dish.

* Whip up some fruit salad for an easy to make treat. Drain a can of fruit cocktail and add some chopped walnuts, marshmallows and sliced bananas soaked in lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown).

* Make your own trail mix. Mix your favorite kinds of nuts, raisins, dried bananas and cranberries, and granola.

Just because you eat your lunch out of a lunchbox, doesn’t mean it has to be boring and lack nutritional value. Using leftovers creatively and putting a new twist on your sandwiches will help you and your kids get over the packed lunch doldrums.

Kristy Lee Wilson

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Entry filed under: Healthy Eating. Tags: .

Recipe: Potato & Carrot Casserole

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