Kids are notoriously hard to please during meal times, and coming up with something for lunch that is both nutritious and tasty makes it an even bigger challenge. It is recommended that each lunch have 1 grain, 1 dairy, 2 fruits or vegetables, and 1 protein, but in the lunches listed below all bases are covered and sometimes a food (like cheese) can do double duty as both dairy and protein. The key is finding food that packs a healthy punch, but also appeals to picky eater and won’t wear out over a day stuffed in a lunch box.
1. Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Sandwich
On two whole-wheat slices of toast, spread almond or peanut butter. On top of one slice, drizzle a little honey (honey is incredibly sweet, so a little goes a long way!) Over the peanut butter, place a layer of sliced banana slices. Assemble the sandwich with the layer of bananas in the middle.
The peanut butter provides protein, the honey adds sweetness, the bread gives whole grain energy and nutrition, and the banana a serving of fruit every child needs!
2. Apple, Cheddar and Crackers
This snack can make a great lunch for daycare. It can be eaten by hand, and doesn’t leave too much mess to worry about.
In several packets, include sliced apple (Honeycrisp are a good, sweet, crisp apple variety that kids will love), whole grain crackers, and cheddar cheese cut to the size of the crackers. This snack can be eaten in pieces, or assembled together for mini-sandwiches!
3. Turkey Pinwheels
These are more fun because they come in a fun shape, instead of a standard sandwich.
To assemble, spread a little bit of hummus on a whole wheat (or flour, if your child is a picky eater), and then add some turkey and spinach leaves. Roll the tortilla into a tube, then cut into slices so the insides of the wrap appear as a spiral.
The spiral technique also works with veggie sandwiches, ham and swiss, or peanut butter and jelly! These are best included in a lunch with cut fruit and cheese snacks.
These tostadas make your child feel like they’re getting tortilla chips for lunch, what a treat! First, take a hard tostada and cover it in a layer of refried beans. Then, sprinkle with cheese and lettuce (using the beans as a kind of glue). These can be packed in a larger Tupperware and eaten whole, or broken into chips and enjoyed as a kind of nacho. In this lunch, definitely be sure to add some cut fruit or vegetables like baby carrots to get some greens in.