One of the best things for your child at lunch is some kind of protein. It’s the slow-burning fuel that will keep them thinking through the afternoon. Our kids, being the carbohydrate hounds that they are, most often prefer bread with something on it. But even they can get bored of that, so try some of these ideas:
- Meat "fries": A few slices of meat from Sunday dinner, just like that. Slice into french-fry shapes and send some ketchup or mustard for them to dip.
- Lunch rolls are simply sliced meats rolled up around a slice of apple or melon and stuck with a toothpick. Try prosciutto or turkey meat rather than ham or bologna. Prosciutto is dry cured without nitrites and turkey is leaner than the other two.
- The thermos needs to make a comeback so you can send soups or stews. Freeze single-serving sizes and warm in a pot or microwave while you heat the stainless steel thermos with boiling water.
- Try fresh meat or cheese tortellini cooked – send it hot in the thermos or serve it cold and make it a salad. The spinach pasta does have some fibre and folic acid in it, and if you buy the fresh stuff made with whole eggs, you’re getting extra protein. It’s a nice treat, especially if you send some tomato sauce as a dip that can be used on the spot.
- Nothing beats pizza! You can hide a whole bunch of veggies in craftily created “better spaghetti sauce”. Send some in a small thermos and pack up some whole grain mini pitas with some grated cheese and let them assemble their own.
Lunch has to be creative, fun and nourishing. Letting kids fall into a repetitive rut can backfire later, even if it makes life easier for you now.
Do you have any secrets you’d like to share?
About the Author:
Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.
Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of Savvymom.ca’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.