Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box
You have probably already heard that bringing your lunch can be better for both your health and your wallet. But you and your lunch-box toting kids may be getting tired of the same old, same old sandwich and fruit routine.
Packing a lunch that is both convenient and healthy can be a challenge, and if you want to have variety, that can make the task seem even more daunting. But here are a couple of my ideas for easy, healthy lunches that the whole family can pack up and enjoy!
- Lunch Kabobs: Lace a couple wooden skewers with left over chicken or lunch meat, veggies (like cherry tomatoes, cucumber pieces, and round carrot pieces), and low-fat cheese cubes. Lace another couple skewers with all different colored fresh fruits. This makes for an easy and fun lunch that doubles as a great way to sneak in your fruits and veggies.
- Dressed-Up Pasta Salad: Turn this stand by side dish into a filling main course. Take a traditional pasta salad (bonus points for whole wheat pasta) and add some magic to it by throwing in some protein (cooked chicken, tuna from a can or pouch, feta cheese, beans or pine nuts) and some veggies-or even fruit such as blueberries, steamed broccoli, peas, or shredded carrots.
- A Dipping Tray: Use one single serving container of hummus as the star of this lunch. Hummus is a great source of protein and makes a fun dip. Include pieces of whole wheat pita bread and raw veggies such as broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and cauliflower to use as dippers.
- A Salad in a Bag: Make a tossed salad and put it in a large zip top bag. Include a protein such as chicken, salmon, or a hard-boiled egg, and plenty of leafy green veggies as well as colorful ones. For extra color and flavor, throw on some berries or a couple tablespoons of dried fruit. To add a little crunch, include a couple tablespoons of nuts. Put toghter in the bag and seal. In a separate container, pour a single serving of a heart healthy vinaigrette dressing. When lunch time arrives, pour the dressing in the salad bag and shake to toss. Pour out on a paper plate to enjoy!
Do you have other easy and healthy lunches that you take to school or work? If so, e-mail them to me, and I'll share them on a future blog post!