Guest Blog: Three Healthy School Lunch Ideas

At many schools around the country, lunch time is a sad state of affairs. Lunch trays are loaded with highly processed foods that lack the nutrients growing children need. In order to ensure that their young students are eating right, many nutritionally savvy moms and dads have decided to send their kiddos to school with packed lunches.
Packing a daily lunch is no small chore, though. Cooking up a well-balanced, yet portable meal can be a true challenge! We have 3 awesome lunchbox-friendly, healthy school lunch ideas to share with you.

Smoothie Pops

Blend you child’s favorite smoothie and freeze it into a reusable popsicle mold. If you put a fully frozen pop in their lunch box along with an ice pack, the smoothie pop should be defrosted just enough to eat by lunch time.
Kids of all ages go ape for this Straw-Banana Avocado smoothie! It is full of vitamins and healthy omega-3 fats to keep your little one well-fed!

Straw-Banana Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients
     6 strawberries
     1 frozen banana
     ¼ of a peeled and seeded avocado
     1 c unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choice
     ½ tsp vanilla extract
     1 scoop of vanilla unflavored protein powder (optional)
     1 packet of stevia (optional)
Instructions
Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Add stevia to sweeten to your liking.

Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great source of protein, fiber and important nutrients like manganese, folate and iron. Many kids do not favor beans, but the following recipe for roasted chickpeas gives this legume a unique, crunchy texture that makes it feel more like eating chips or popcorn.

Easy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients
     One can of drained, rinsed and patted dry chickpeas
     2 teaspoons of oil*
     1 teaspoons of your choice of spice*
Instructions
1.    Preheat oven to 425
2.    Spread chickpeas over a foil lined baking sheet
3.    Coat with oil.*I use olive oil when I want them savory and coconut oil when I want them sweet
4.    Coat with your choice of spice. *Be creative! Try cinnamon and sugar, taco mix, or pizza spice – let your kid’s taste buds be your guide!
5.    Bake for 15 minutes.

Homemade Trail Mix

If your child prefers finger foods to entrees, a homemade trail mix might make for the perfect lunch. While there is no shortage of trail mixes available at the local market, very few are a healthy mix that will give your young scholar the valuable nutrients and energy they need.
Try blending together raw nuts and seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and you can even add chopped up bits of a healthy jerky for protein. For example: mix up equal parts dried cherries, raw almonds, pumpkin seeds and grass-fed beef jerky bits.

 

When it comes to making a healthy lunch for your children, don’t be afraid to think outside the sandwich! Your kids will appreciate the variety and you will feel good knowing they are eating a wholesome lunch.

About the Author- Erika Volk

Erika is a certified personal trainer, Nutrition Coach, and fitness writer. She holds certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), TRX Suspension Training Systems, Precision Nutrition. Erika lives with her husband in a small beach town somewhere in Costa Rica. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, learning to speak Spanish and traveling. At erikavolkfitness.com you’ll find at-home workout plans, healthy cookingtips, and stories about her life in Costa Rica.

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