Back To School: Packing the Perfect Lunch

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Need some new lunch ideas? Here are some options, including a healthier PB & J and even a rice dish, for kids who aren’t fans of the sandwich. There are also “slimming versions” for mamas watching their weight.

Avocado Melt

Ingredients:

2 slices whole-wheat/whole grain bread (preferably sprouted wheat) or Gluten-Free bread
½ avocado, mashed
1 slice low-fat mozzarella or swiss

Put the cheese on one of the slices and put in toaster until melted, together with the other slice. When the cheese is melted take both slices out and spread the other slice with avocado.

Add to lunchbox: cherry tomatoes, a hard-boiled egg for extra protein and purple grapes.

Slimming Version:

Use one slice of bread only, cut in half. Spread ½ a slice with ¼ an avocado. Top with ½ slice cheese (melted). Add a salad to complete the meal.

Healthier Peanut-Butter & JellyIf your child is a PB&J junkie, here’s a healthy version:

Ingredients:

2 Whole wheat English muffins, toasted, or Gluten-Free bread
1 tbsp natural Peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) – The peanut butter should have only peanuts and salt as ingredients.
1 tbsp jelly – The jelly should not have sugar, fructose, aspartame, Splenda, or any other sweetener. Acceptable sweetener: concentrate fruit juice. I like “St. Dalfour” and “Polaner”. I know Polaner also makes a “sugar-free” jelly with Splenda, which is considered natural, but the jelly has a ton of artificial ingredients that are completely unnecessary for either you or your child.

Spread peanut butter and jelly on muffins.

Add to lunchbox: Red pepper slices, cucumber slices, yogurt with nuts and dried fruit.

Slimming Version:

Use two rice cakes instead of English muffins. The rice cakes should have “brown rice” as the sole ingredient. I like Landau’s Rice Cakes.

Brown Rice with Toasted Almonds and raisins

As always, there are those who dislike sandwiches, so I have an easy kid-friendly rice dish they can try. Kids love the crunchiness of the toasted almonds and the sweet flavor of the raisins, especially when they get puffy from the water. It can be eaten at room temperature.

Ingredients:

4 and a half cups vegetable broth (all-natural)
1 cup golden raisins
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon canola oil

Salt to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet or saucepan, bring a half cup of broth to a boil. Remove from heat, add raisins and set aside (do not drain).

In a large pot cook rice according to instructions using remaining broth instead of water (add more broth or drain if necessary). You can also use a microwave or rice cooker.

In a large skillet or wok saute the almonds in canola oil on low to medium flame until lightly browned. Add rice and raisins and cook on low heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add salt o taste.

Add to lunchbox: String cheese, sugar snap peas, yellow peppers and a red apple.

Slimming Version:

Use half the amounts of almonds and raisins and sweeten with Stevia to taste.

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