Most parents strive to provide their kids with solid nutrition, but it can be a real challenge to come up with healthy lunchbox ideas day after day. And let’s face it, as adults, we (often times, more so than our kids) get tired of the “same-old same-old” for lunch.
That’s where having a collection of tasty, fun and nourishing recipes can help you break free from lunchbox boredom. I hope these “Six Strategies for Super Healthy Lunches” provide you with some inspiration for a delicious change of pace as you continue to strive to provide the best nutrition to fuel your children’s growing bodies.
1) Just Wrap It!
Wraps (a.k.a. Roll-Ups) are a tasty, fun and attractive alternative to the traditional sandwich. We love the wrap – they make a great lunchbox option. In fact, my kids have eaten foods they normally turn down, when I roll it up in a tortilla wrap! Apparently, the cute little roll-up makes everything look and taste yummier! Check out “Sweet & Savory Roll-Ups” for a few of our favorite wrap-recipes, as well as a lot more ideas for real food wrapping.
2) Variety is the Spice of Life (especially when it comes to sandwiches)
Beat the boredom of the same sandwich syndrome by mixin’ it up with a variety of wholesome baked goods to book-end your favorite fillings. Here are a few of our favorite options:
• Whole grain or GF bagels
• Sourdough rolls
• Whole grain pitas
• Whole grain or GF tortilla wraps (see #1 for some delicious wrap ideas)
And while we’re at it, here are a variety of healthy sandwich fillings to keep your sandwich creativity flowing …
• Grilled Chicken Salad
• Carrot & Cheddar
• Avocado Egg Salad
• BBQ Chicken – Mix leftover shredded chicken with some BBQ sauce
• Nut Butter & Raw Honey w/Banana – Mix two parts of your favorite nut butter with one part raw honey and top with sliced banana
• BLAT – Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich
• Philly Cheese Steak – Thinly sliced leftover steak and top with leftover sautéed onion, raw cheese and spicy mustard
3) Healthy Homemade “Lunchables”
Why purchase a lunch that not only has zero nutritional value, but actually contains ingredients that are detrimental to your child’s health? Of course, the lure of this product is its convenience, but that’s the whole problem with processed foods – you trade convenience for quality nutrition.
Believe me, I’m not trying to be a lunchbox killjoy here – in fact, the more fun lunch is, the more likely it is that your child will eat it. So that’s what inspired me to create a few Healthy Homemade Lunchables ideas that are as nutritious as they are fun to create and eat.
4) Leftovers for Lunch
Talk about convenient! Packing dinner leftovers for lunch is one of the easiest methods for ensuring a delicious healthy lunch. Here are some of our favorite leftovers that taste great cold the next day …
• Caprese Pasta
• Oven Baked Chicken Drumsticks or Herbed Chicken Drumsticks
• Grilled Chicken or Turkey
• Taco Salad
• Turkey Meatballs (w/ketchup for dipping)
• Turkey-Veggie Burgers
• Chicken-n-Veggies Quesadilla Sandwiches
5) Go for a Dip!
Looking for a change of pace? Nutritious dips and spreads make a great light lunch, or add several satisfying sides for a heartier meal.
• Veggie Confetti Spread w/Wholesome Crackers
• Layered Bean Dip w/Chips – In a reusable container, layer refried beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and shredded raw cheese. Serve w/homemade tortilla chips.
• Hummus w/Whole Grain Pita Triangles & Raw Veggies – Check out my friend Laura at MOMables yummy greek hummus recipe.
6) Satisfying Sides
Wholesome sides add an extra boost of nutrition and help to satisfy a hearty appetite. Here are some ideas to get you started …
• Fresh Organic Fruit – Apple slices, melon, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, etc.
• Fresh Organic Veggies – Carrots, zucchini sticks, cucumber slices, bell peppers, broccoli florets, etc. For an extra treat, serve raw veggies w/Homemade Ranch Dressing.
• Lacto-Fermented/Cultured Veggies – Full of beneficial probiotics, cultured veggies make delicious sides. Two of my boys’ favorites are Bubbies brand cultured dill pickles and my Busy Moms’ Homemade Lacto-Fermented Salsa. My friend Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS has a wonderful book on easy fermenting and culturing that I highly recommend!
• Whole Milk Yogurt – A creamy nutritious treat, whole milk yogurt provides a wealth of good nutrition and important probiotics. We love to make our own Fruit-On-The-Bottom Yogurt, Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits and Yogurt Banana Splits.
• Raw Cheese – Made from wholesome raw milk, raw milk cheese provides all the benefits of a living food. Raw cheese is perfect on sandwiches, salads and makes a creamy, delicious addition to fresh fruit kabobs. For more about the benefits of raw milk and raw milk cheese, check out this post.
• Side Salads – I love to add a side salad when packing leftovers like grilled chicken or chicken drumsticks. Salads also make a great main dish too. And you can further increase good nutrition by making your own homemade salad dressings.
• Crispy Nut Mixes – Simply combine your favorite crispy nuts (like almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.) with your favorite crispy seeds (like sunflower, pumpkin, etc.). Then add your favorite dried fruits, carob chips, and other healthy add-ins and voilà, you’ve got yourself a delicious and nutritious side.
• Homemade Granola Bars – Made from homemade soaked granola, these crunchy, yet chewy granola bars are not only delicious, but very nutritious too!
• Wholesome Muffins – Naturally-sweetened soaked whole grain muffins make a great lunchbox side. And if you’re grain-free, there are some highly nutritious grain-free flours, such as coconut flour and blanched almond flour, that can be used to create delicious, healthy muffins as well. Here are a few of our favorites:
–Lemonberry Fruit Muffins (GF)
–Favorite Fruit Muffins (GF)
• Healthy Cookies? Really?? – Yes, you can make a variety of delicious, healthy cookies to satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth. Here are a few of our favorites …
–Cinnamon Walnut Buttons (GF)
–Raw Cookie Dough Bites (GF)
–Raw Cacao-Coconut Cookie Bites (GF)
I hope these six strategies for super healthy lunches help inspire you to create a wide variety of nutritious lunches for you and your children! And if you have some healthy ideas to share, I would love to hear them. We’re always looking for new ways to spice up our lunch at The Nourishing Home!
Joyfully Serving HIM, Kelly