PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Easy Back-to-school Lunch Ideas
. When you prepare your kid’s lunch at home you know what they’re eating, ensuring they are getting what they like and what is good for them. Spend a little extra time planning ahead of time and it can all be easier. Here are a few ideas that are fun, easy and pretty darn healthy too.
· Make it easy for them to eat.
· Make foods and quantities age appropriate.
· Give them what they like – as long as it’s nutritious – but, remember, it usually takes 10 – 12 introductions to a new food before a child is willing to taste it so do not give up.
· Pack it so cold foods stay cold and hot foods stay hot - FOOD SAFETY ALERT! Perishable food transported without an ice source will stay safe only 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F). Check it out at www.befoodsafe.org or call 1-888-MPHotline.
Ideas for a no hassle, healthy and fun lunchbox:
· Stick to a formula one each of protein, vegetable, fruit and carbohydrate
· Include something fun like a package of Smarties with a note about how smart your child is, a sticker, cookies wrapped in plastic wrap with a ribbon or sandwiches cut into different shapes.
· Pack lunch-size leftovers ahead of time. Pack leftovers in sizes just right for lunch and store in pantry, refrigerator or freezer for future use.
· Make ahead and freeze as many items as you can including sandwiches, burritos, rollups, muffins, cookies and soups.
Proteins Vegetables Fruits Carbohydrates/Sweets
Boiled egg Mini salad Grapes Applesauce
Raw nuts or edamame Cucumber rounds bell pepper slices Apple slices Mini bagel/Whole wheat pita bread whole grain tortilla
Burrito Snap peas Bananas Whole wheat muffin
yogurt/nut butters Carrot or celery sticks Orange slices Home-made trail mix
(homemade lunchables) Cherry tomatoes banana Fresh baked cookie or brownie
Make Ahead and Freeze Tuna Salad Sandwiches
· 1 – 3oz package cream cheese, softened
· 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
· 1 – 6 oz can chunk tuna, drained
· ¼ cup shredded carrots (for a little extra vegetalbes)
· 1 tsp lemon juice
· 2 Tbsp butter, softened
· ½ tsp salt
· ¼ tsp black pepper
· 8 slices whole wheat bread (or rolls or bagels)
· In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and mayo and beat until smooth.
· Stir in tuna, carrot and lemon juice, salt, pepper and blend well to combine.
· Spread softened butter thinly on each slice of bread and spread tuna filling to make sandwiches.
· Wrap in freezer wrap, place in gallon freezer bag or other freezer container, label and freeze.
· To thaw, let thaw overnight in refrigerator or let thaw in lunch bag until lunchtime.
· Make sure sandwiches are eaten within 2 hours of being completely thawed.
Kids Sized Submarine Sandwiches
· 2 tbsp butter, softened
· Mayo and mustard
· 4 whole wheat hot dog buns, split
· Turkey, ham, cheese, as desired
· 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
· Spread a thin layer of butter onto cut sides of hot dog buns-Spread mustard and mayo over butter.
· Layer remaining ingredients in buns to make sandwiches.
Note: leave off the tomatoes and these may be individually wrapped and frozen
Leftover Chicken Lunch Kabobs
Skewer food costs by using dinner leftovers in your kid’s lunch box. Lunch kabobs are easy to make by sticking a drink stirrer through cubed meat chunks, vegetable pieces, and cheese cubes..
Peanut Butter and Banana Pinwheels
Your kid hates crusts, meat, cheese, and all other regular sandwich fixings. Awesome. Now what? Go a little bananas by rolling this tasty fruit into a bunch of nutty butter pinwheel bites.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Kabobs
Just spread a little peanut butter, almond butter, or whatever gooey substance your kids like onto a wrap, add a banana, and roll. Use a sharp knife to slice the roll into bite-sized pieces perfect for little mouths.
Everything tastes better when it comes in kebab form right? These are a fun way to get your kids to eat some fruit with their sandwich too. For cleaner cutting I sliced the crust first then cut into cubes and spread a little peanut butter on half the cubes then a little jam on the other half then thread onto sticks with fruit in-between. Banana slices would also be good on these, but dunk them in a water lemon mixture first to prevent browning.
· 1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or pizza dough
· ½ cup pizza sauce
· 1 cup mini pepperonis or chopped pepperoni
· 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
· Heat oven to 375 degrees
· Spray 8 regular size muffin cups or 4 large muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners
· Unroll dough, separate and press into muffin cups
· In a small bowl mix sauce, pepperoni and ¾ cup cheese
· Spoon about 2 Tablespoon mixture into small or ¼ cup mixture into large dough lined cups; sprinkle with additional ¼ cup cheese
· Bake 16 – 18 minutes for small muffins (large with take a little longer)
· Immediately remove from cups and serve hot or make be cooled completely,
This spread will go with a variety of wines and other foods.
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