I’m excited to share these healthy make-and-take lunch ideas with you! Now that I’m working off-site three days a week at Mucho Más Art Studio, lunch has become a factor. I forgot what it’s like to deal with that early afternoon meal – eat out every day, eat snacks? Skip it altogether? No, no, and no! Now, three weeks in, I’m packing my lunch!
This isn’t only about you or me, we can also apply this to lunches we pack for our kids or significant others to help us develop healthy habits. Make it a family routine to plan ahead and create some exciting and interesting flavor combos. Today I brought in a chicken salad, jicama sticks, and mango slices. I packed lime slices and a little bit of Tajin to give my meal a kick. I nibbled on the jicama all morning, had the salad at lunch and ate the mango chunks as an afternoon snack. Oh – and I packed it up in my new fancy embellished lunch bag!
Here are a few creative and healthy meals to pack for your child this school year.
In a recent survey of 1,000 Americans, 98% said they like pizza, and ‘make-your-own-pizza’ lunch kits have been popular for years. But instead of eating all those preservatives and artificial ingredients, try a protein-based meal. At just 35 calories each, these delicious protein-packed bites are sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Feel free to incorporate any number of veggies as toppings, or substitute the regular pepperoni for turkey pepperoni for an even healthier kick. So Very Blessed provides this easy recipe for making these tasty pizza-alternatives.
Tortillas have been outselling hot dog buns since 2010, and for good reason — they’re healthier, more versatile, and come in so many different flavor varieties. But instead of filling tortillas with beef and cheese, try something with the same amount of protein and significantly less fat: chicken. This recipe from Love & Zest uses wheat tortillas, greek yogurt, and lots of veggies to maximize the protein power. If you want to amp up the health value even more, you can substitute the mayonnaise with the low-fat version.
Did you watch that? Doesn’t it look scrumptious? I love the thought of cucumbers in there and it seems so light and refreshing. Here’s another idea: Cream Cheese, Pear, Honey Sandwiches!
This sandwich idea may sound like it was created by an over-stressed but still health-conscious parent who forgot to go shopping and haphazardly shoved these ingredients between two slices of bread just as their child’s school bus was coming around the corner. But in reality, it’s a great alternative to traditional peanut butter and jelly that can still be made in less than five minutes. And considering the fact that Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person per year, honey is a perfect ingredient to include in a school lunch, and its intense yet natural sweetness is what makes this sandwich a home run for children of all ages.
Bon Appetit provides this easy recipe, but there are only three simple ingredients. This sandwich is also incredibly versatile and can be made with a number of different fruits.
“You could use smashed berries or sliced apple in their place,” says Bon Appetit. “Spread whole grain bread with softened cream cheese; top with thinly sliced pear and a drizzle of honey. Sandwich with another slice of whole grain bread. Crust removal is optional.”
I watched this video and got so excited! I can do this – WE can do this! I love how she makes these meals seem so artful and colorful. I’m moving these to the top of my list!
Plan ahead and make a shopping list. Don’t think you can just wing it (pun intended!) because you’ll likely forget items or be tempted to veer away from the plan. Let’s stick to the plan, people!
Set aside a block of time to make these lunches. Say it’s every night at 8, or once a week. Put that block of time on your calendar so you take it seriously.
Mix it up! Make lunch fun again! Challenge yourself to see how creative you can eat without spending a lot of money or calories.
Keep it light so you won’t become sleepy in the early afternoon.
Include snacks to munch on during the day. My problem with taking my lunch is I would eat it before lunch, then go out to lunch. Duh. So wrong! But now that I’m including a lot of cut veggies and lime, I plenty of food to last me all day.
See the picture at the top of this post? It can be as easy as that – just slice up some chicken, tomatoes, and other veggies you have a lunch! Don’t stress if you can’t pull off a fancy meal. Just do what you can!
Don’t think about weight loss, just think about making better choices about what you eat. A little change can make a big difference!
Oh, what about dessert? I found this video!