School’s out for the summer! Since the kids won’t be lunching in the cafeteria, that means you’re responsible for their midday meal. Whether they’ll be eating at the kitchen table or brown-bagging it, these healthy options are easy for parents to make and enjoyable for kids to eat. Here are ten delicious, nutritious summer lunches for kids:
1. Baked Ham and Cheese Quesadilla
Your youngster will do a double-take when they see their sandwich fillings baked inside a flour tortilla. If your child’s not a big ham fan, use turkey instead. Though the recipe calls for Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella and cheddar work well too. Bonus points if you can sneak some tomatoes, spinach, or another veggie into the quesadilla.
At first glance, including cheesy, carb-laden Mac doesn’t sound like the epitome of healthy cuisine. However, multiple tweaks can be made to the recipe to up the nutrition factor. Start by using whole wheat pasta– you can’t even taste the difference. Sub skim milk for whole, use reduced-fat cheese, and consider using creamy avocado instead of butter.
3. Crescent Roll Pizza Pinwheels
What kid doesn’t love pizza? Use crescent roll dough, cheese, pepperoni, and the toppings of your choice to create yummy pinwheels. Be sure to check out the blue box at the bottom of the instructions for a how-to on creating your own homemade marinara sauce.
4. Spicy Sriracha Panko Chicken Fingers
Do not be deterred by the Sriracha– these chicken fingers have a little kick but won’t make young eyes water. If your child really doesn’t like spices, half the amount of Sriracha. Try making the recipe with boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders so they can dig right into their meal. You will want to keep these on rotation for the entire family.
5. Pita Pizza With Veggies
These are just as much fun to eat as they are to make. Gather the kids in the kitchen and let them create their own pizza. Instead of premade pizza sauce in a jar, try using the homemade marinara recipe mentioned in #3. Be sure to challenge everyone to use veggies to make their pizza as colorful as possible.
6. Mini Rainbow Sandwiches
Plates filled with color are synonymous with nutritious meals. What’s beneficial about this recipe is the breakdown of fruits and vegetables by color. Encourage your kids to pick one item from each color of the rainbow. Skip the white bread and use a hearty whole grain instead.
7. Perfect Kid Salad
Sometimes salads can be a hard sell to the younger set. The best remedy for salad apprehension is to involve them in the process. Incorporate various colors, textures, and tastes. Let them touch the ingredients and help assemble the salad. Be sure to check out the breakdown of produce by season on the recipe.
8. Grilled Apple and Peanut Butter Sandwich
The secret to maximizing the health benefits of this sandwich lies in the peanut butter. Do not purchase conventional peanut butter from the store! It has tons of additives. Look for natural peanut butter, which should only contain two ingredients: peanuts and salt.
9. Juicy Grilled Cheeseburgers
Using whole-wheat English muffins instead of white buns gives your burger a nutritional boost. Other health hacks include swapping ground beef for turkey. Serve with a side of carrot sticks and yogurt or fresh fruit.
10. Spiced Chicken and Grape Skewers
Stick almost anything on a skewer and the kids will love it. Let your kids have fun with their food while everyone else eats a boring bologna sandwich on white bread [not exactly the healthiest option!]. The combination of zesty chicken bits and tangy grapes works well together.