Are you in need of some lunchtime inspiration for the kids? Looking to give them some healthy fare that they will actually eat? It is often too easy to default to plain old sandwiches but even the kids get bored with that! Guest writer Roger Lehman suggests livening up your offerings with these 12 Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas That Your Kids will Love – all of which could work for either lunches at home or on-the-go lunch box fillers.
#1. Chicken Kebabs
Kids seem to adore eating anything on a stick so this will go down a treat with hungry youngsters!
Dice a boneless chicken breast into squares and fry it in a pan until done. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Cooking the chicken takes seven to ten minutes. You could alternatively use cooked chicken leftovers, cut up into cubes, or grill the chicken breast and then cut into cubes.
Alternate the cooked chicken cubes with fresh fruit or veggies like cucumbers, pineapple chunks, and carrots on a skewer for a novel and colorful lunch feast. For fun, let the kids assemble their own.
Alternatively, this Chicken & Pineapple Skewers recipe from food network cooks the chicken and pineapple skewers together on the grill. Yum!
#2. Warm/Cold Quesadillas
Simply insert a piece of your child’s favorite cheese between the two parts of a folded tortilla. Fry it until the cheese melts and the tortilla is slightly crispy on the outside. The inside of a quesadilla is also a great place to sneak in some cooked, diced broccoli or other vegetables. This south-of-the-border favourite tastes fine cold too. Serve with some sour cream and spicy homemade salsa if your kids don’t mind a bit of heat!
Here’s a quick video showing you how to make cheesy quesedillas.
Simply roll up cheese, deli meat, lettuce, and a bit of mayo, cream cheese, or other sandwich sauce. Close with a toothpick for a fun and complaint-free finger food.
You could also try these fun sushi-like sandwich rollups
#4. Breakfast-for-Lunch Pancake Sandwiches
Use a whole-grain pancake mix or your own recipe (here are 5 simple healthy pancake recipes), to make a pancake sandwich by stuffing scrambled eggs, bacon, and/or fried leftover potatoes between two pancakes. Add just a dollop of honey or real maple syrup. The kids will gobble these up!
#5. Fried Rice
For a great quick use of leftovers, saute one-half cup of brown rice with an equal amount of diced cooked chicken and vegetables. Add in a little soya sauce or a little chicken bullion/stock for extra flavour.
Or this asian flavoured Chicken Fried Rice would be perfect for lunch at home or on-the-go, as you can prepare this the night before. Add more vegetables too if you think you can get away with it! If you are vegetarian, just leave out the chicken.
#6. Lettuce-Chicken Wraps
Wrap diced chicken and fresh vegetables up in a big, fresh lettuce leaf for something different the kids will love. Add a dollop of sweet-and-sour sauce or soy sauce for just the right tangy taste.
We love this Honey Chicken Lettuce Cups recipe from Laura Fuentes – asian in style, and quick and easy to produce.
#7. Pasta Salad
Cook whole-grain macaroni or other fork-sized pasta according to the package directions. Add in tuna or chicken, finely chopped carrots, cheese cubes, peas, and a dollop of mayo. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings to taste.
#8. Green Smoothie Recipes
Smoothies are perfect when you’re pressed for time – easy to make and ideal for getting some fruit, veg, protein and fibre into your little ones. Plus kids love them!
Momontimeout.com has two green smoothie recipes that the kids will gobble up – we like the Peanut Banana Green Smoothie best which uses a spoon of natural peanut butter and banana to mask the taste of spinach. Pair with some wholegrain crackers for a quick and healthy lunch idea.
Image via Momontimeout.com
This High Fibre Broccoli Smoothie from Superhealthykids, would make a great healthy lunch alternative too, or try adding some oats to a smoothie for a more filling lunch, like this Banana, Oats, Berries & Spinach smoothie from Deliciously Ella.
#9. Cracker Sandwiches & Dips
Cut deli meat and/or cheese into cracker-sized sandwiches, and lay out on the table with some whole-grain crackers and fruit and veggie sticks to let kids make their own little sandwich bites. Add some homemade hummus/dip for extra nutrition – here are some recipes you could try:
- Broad Bean Hummus
- Tasty Smoked Salmon Spread from allrecipes.com
- Quick and Easy Hummus
- Fish Dip with Smoked Mackerel Fillets
- White Bean dip – blend a tin of cannelloni beans, garlic clove, chopped mint, chopped chives, chopped thyme with some olive oil.
#10. Half-Bagel Pizza
Your kids will love these easy peasy bagel pizzas – older kids could even make their own. Slice a whole-grain bagel in half. Top with a light layer of pizza sauce (you could even add some chopped spinach to your sauce for extra veg), grated cheese, and other favorite toppings. Cook in the oven for about five minutes until the cheese melts. These are also yummy cold, so if want to send them in the lunch box, just let them cool before popping them in.
#11. The 10 Minute Soup
Soups make a great healthy lunch option but can take a little longer to produce, which is not ideal if the kids are hungry. We love this 10 Minute Tomato Soup from foodnetwork.co.uk – it’s perfect for busy parents. And it really is simple to make too, blending tinned tomatoes, celery and stock, and then just heating in the microwave.
We also liked this 10 minute no-fuss Minestrone Soup from Stone Soup Virtual Cookery School, using cannellini beans. Bulk it up by adding some pasta to this recipe.
#12. Pigs In Skins
With a fun name like pigs in skins, it won’t take much to convince the kids to eat these. Use prepared, frozen roll dough to wrap any kind of lean-meat or vegan hot dogs to make tasty homemade sausage rolls. These taste great warm, but they are also fine cold the next day and make a handy finger food. How about making your own honey sesame sausages to use in the recipe?
For some extra nutrition, add some vegetable like taste.com.au’s Healthy Chicken & Vegetable Sausage Rolls.
About the Author
Content was provided by Roger Lehman, who writes and plays music in his spare time. His site Best Blender For The Money gives you the latest reviews and information on blenders to help you make the right choice.
Over to you! Have you any quick and healthy lunch ideas for kids? Share them with us in the comments below.