5 Healthy (And Easy) Lunches to Pack for Busy Families

By acac Membership Coordinator, Sarah Frazier

School has just started again and that means early mornings, after school activities, sports and homework! With all this activity and brain power going on, it is really important to keep nutrition and healthy eating habits a priority. But who has time to pack a healthy lunch at this busy time of the year?

The fact is, packing healthy lunches for your kids does not have to be hard! Simplicity is key when tackling busy family meals, and the #1 way to keep things simple is to follow MyPlate. MyPlate is the USDA’s new version of the food pyramid in an easily recognizable graphic: a meal plate! By using MyPlate to portion and plan lunches, healthy meals are guaranteed to find their way into your children’s lunch boxes.

myplate_slider_grain_0

Here are 5 great ways to use MyPlate to pack healthy and easy lunches for your kids this school year:

turkey_wheels

1. Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels: This is a new take on an old favorite, and couldn’t be easier to make!

Ingredients

1 whole wheat tortilla

3 slices of turkey

1 slice of cheese

Directions: Place the turkey and cheese across the tortilla. Roll it up tight and cut into 1 inch pieces. Add your child’s favorite fruit and some carrot sticks to the side for a balanced meal!

pizza_skewers

2. Pepperoni Pizza Kabobs: Pizza is messy and takes too long to make! Try this out for an easy lunchbox version.

Ingredients

1 whole wheat naan bread

6 pepperoni slices

1 mozzarella cheese stick

4 cherry tomatoes

2 kabob sticks

Directions: Break the naan into 1 inch pieces and cut the cheese stick into 6 equal pieces. Poke the ingredients onto the kabob sticks, alternating as you go. Add bell pepper slices to the side for a balanced pizza fake out!

chicken_apple_wrap_up

3. Chicken and Apple wrap ups: This lunch has all the nutrition of a sandwich, but beats the boredom!

Ingredients

3 slices of chicken

6 thin apple slices

1 slice of cheddar cheese

Directions: Lay the sliced chicken flat on a plate or cutting board. Place 1/3 of a slice of cheese and 2 apple slices in the middle of each slice of chicken. Fold the bottom and sides of the chicken like a wrap and place them in a container. Add a side of pita chips to make this a balanced lunch!

Granola with yogurt in a jars, selective focus

4. Fruit Parfaits: Fruit parfaits are usually thought of as breakfast food, but they are so easy and portable that they make for great lunches, too!

Ingredients

1 cup of vanilla yogurt (Greek or Regular)

½ cup of your child’s favorite fruit

½ cup of granola, rice cereal, corn flakes, or cheerios

Directions: In a tall container or a Mason jar, layer the ingredients until you have filled the container. Add carrot sticks and hummus to the side for a balanced lunch!

peanut_butter_pinwheels

5. Peanut Butter and Banana “Quesadillas” A low-carb spin on an old favorite: PB&J!

Ingredients

2 whole wheat tortillas

2 tbsp of your child’s favorite peanut butter (almond butter will work too)

1 banana

Directions: Spread the peanut butter on 1 of the tortillas. Slice the banana and place the slices on top of the layer of peanut butter. Place the second tortilla on top and cut into 6 equal slices. Add celery sticks to the side for a balanced lunch!

With a little bit of creative and planning, your kids lunches with be the healthiest and most fun at the lunch table!

 

Looking for more information on family nutrition? Select the city/location below to see acac‘s nutrition offerings.

Charlottesville | Midlothian | Short Pump | Timonium | West Chester