On top of everything else that parents are responsible for, thinking up healthy meals can be daunting— especially when you want to find options that your kid will actually eat.
A good way to think up healthy meals is to sort through a list of superfoods and see which of those your kids do or would enjoy. Most of those foods, like vegetables and fruits, can be eaten raw or whole. So if your child is willing to eat them that way, let them! It’s better for them AND better for you—you won’t have to do as much prepping or cooking. Remember, a whole apple is better than applesauce, strawberries are better than strawberry jelly, and raw broccoli is better than boiled broccoli.
For most kids, you’ll probably have to doctor up some healthy foods to make them appealing enough to eat. Once you come up with 2 to 3 weeks worth of healthy lunch ideas, you can put them in a rotation and launch into automatic pilot mode. Here’s a 5-day list of easy-to-prep healthy lunch ideas to get you started:
One Week of Healthy Lunch Ideas
Monday: Buy a cooked turkey breast from your grocer. To keep things easy, ask the deli department to slice it for you. Throw some turkey on a whole wheat english muffin with a little mayo and tomato. Sneak in some spinach by chopping it up in small pieces. For dessert, pack some immunity-boosting orange slices and call it a day. According to Medical News Today, oranges are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory vitamins.
Tuesday: Another easy but healthy lunch idea consists of an apple and peanut butter. Slice up an apple and spread peanut butter on each of the slices and pack them up in some tupperware. Throw in a boiled egg for added protein and some raw cucumber sticks which are great for bones, skin, and hydration.
Wednesday: Instead of making an elaborate sandwich, try a “snack sack lunch” using a bunch of different healthy snacks to make a satisfying lunch. Start by finding out what kind of nuts your kids like. Nuts are an easy way for your kids to get their essential fats, fiber, and protein. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and have proven benefits for the heart, skin, and bones. You can pack a generous helping of tasty trail mix and accompany it with some grapes, a mozzarella cheese stick, and carrots to make a healthy meal.
Thursday: How about some breakfast for lunch? This one is oh so easy! Pack a greek yogurt for a healthy serving of protein and probiotics. Yogurt is great for regulating digestive systems, especially for the kiddos with frequent tummy aches. Serve it up with some strawberries and raw broccoli with ranch dressing, and you’ll have one happy, healthy child!
Friday: Grab your leftover turkey breast, cucumber, and tomato from earlier in the week. Spread some cream cheese on a spinach tortilla and roll up all the ingredients to make a turkey roll up. Throw in a handful of blueberries to load your child up with fiber, Vitamin C, and manganese. And as a surprise, let them enjoy an end-of-the-week treat like a fruit roll-up or fruit snacks.
→ Diet, sleep, and exercise are important for keeping your kids healthy during the school year. Read about it here.