Getting a little tired of sandwiches day after day? Wrap up lunch three tasty ways.
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Pre-packaged lunch kits sure seem convenient, but the quality of the food is subpar at best. Popular options include crackers and processed meats and cheeses, coupled with sugary drinks and cookies. The calorie counts vary from 300 to 450 per serving, with 8 to 20 grams and fat, plus 30 to 40 percent of an adult’s sodium needs for the entire day. What’s even more disturbing is the staggeringly long list of ingredients, usually chock-full of preservatives.
Bento-style containers make homemade lunch kits a breeze. Compartments keep food fresh and allow little fingers to snatch up and assemble their favorites. Most set-ups retail for $15 to $25 each at Pottery Barn Kids and Laptop Lunches. Resealable plastic bags and small plastic containers can also get the job done.
Here are 5 fresh lunch combos that keep the menu fun and healthy.
- Thick-sliced roasted turkey, cheese cubes, edamame and yogurt-dipped pretzels (above)
- Greek yogurt, fresh berries, granola and carrot sticks
- Grilled chicken, tortilla chips, black bean salsa and broccoli florets
- Mini PB &J, whole wheat pretzels and grapes
- Pasta salad, green beans and apple
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »
Side Dishes and Salads
Broccoli Salad (above)
When you cook and freeze breakfast items ahead of time, you’ll always have something handy to serve before school, even on hectic mornings. Try making double or triple batches of any of these recipes.
Instead of buying mixes, make homemade pancakes and let them cool before storing in the freezer. Use these tips to lighten up your next batch.
Recipes to try:
- Lemon Blueberry Pancakes (above)
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
- Whole Wheat Pancakes with Nutty Topping
- Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes
- Oatmeal Pancakes with Maple-Glazed Roasted Apples
Stock up on mouthwatering summer fruits before the season is gone! They supply plenty of good-for-you antioxidants in addition to boatloads of flavor.
- Hot Peaches and Cream
- Grilled Plums with Spiced Walnut Yogurt Sauce
- Grilled Summer Fruit
- Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint Vinaigrette
- Mixed Berries with Limoncello
- Grilled Peaches with Granola
Most bottles and cans of energy drinks are nothing but sugar water plus lots of supplemental vitamins and minerals. The beverages are also loaded with herbal stimulants and caffeine. The safety of many of the herbal ingredients is questionable, and while caffeine may provide a temporary boost, it won’t give you energy (only calories can do that).
But here’s a homemade energy drink anyone can feel good about sipping.
Got an endless supply of this quintessential summer fruit? Here are some refreshing new ways to use it up.
#1: Make Real Sorbet
Most watermelon sorbets have no actual watermelon in sight! The real deal couldn’t be easier to make.
Recipe: Tropical Watermelon Sorbet
#2: Add to Salsa
Add a fresh and juicy crunch to a savory salsa and serve with fish or chicken.
Recipe: Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa
Beyond the usual fruits, juices or milk, a variety of ingredients can be blended into a smoothie. At breakfast, I try and surprise my kids with new smoothie flavors and play the “guess what’s in it” game. We end up having fun each time.
Here are nine additions worth giving a try.
Made without using a blender, this smoothie combines cooked old-fashioned oats with milk, sugar and vanilla extract. It’s one technique you can use when adding oatmeal to your smoothie.
In Melissa D’Arabian’s Green Morning Smoothie, uncooked oats are blended with vanilla almond milk to rehydrate them. The peaches and bananas add sweetness, while nutrient-packed spinach adds the gorgeous green hue.
Recipe: Green Morning Smoothie (above)