From Baptist Health South Florida
4 min. read
Back-to-school time provides the perfect opportunity to begin packing a healthier lunch for your kids. Lunch is a meal that is just as important as breakfast or dinner particularly for children. A healthy lunch can give a child the energy they need to get through the rest of their day and to ensure optimal performance during extra-curricular activities such as sports, dance or cheerleading.
Planning ahead, ensuring ingredients are available, and preparing items the night before can help avoid rushing in the morning. Additionally, there are many containers, coolers, and lunch box options available that include insulated compartments and ice packs for keeping food at the right temperature. Include your child when picking out lunch carriers so that they can personalize the items with their style.
As a mother, I know how difficult it can be to come up with healthy lunch ideas that the child will actually eat. The concept of a bento-style lunch is a fun trend for creating exciting, kid-friendly school lunches that they will be sure to eat. The word bento is the Japanese word for a boxed lunch and the main idea is that it contains a variety of different types of foods including whole grain carbohydrates, lean proteins, fruits, veggies and sometimes a small treat. The foods are selected to provide a balance of nutrients, colors, flavors, textures, and most of all fun! Below are two ideas for kid-friendly, healthy bento box lunches.
This easy pizza inspired roll-up is a kid-pleaser. Make crunchy vegetables more appealing by selecting colorful varieties like orange and purple cauliflower—and don’t forget the dip! Keep them smiling with watermelon or other fresh fruit cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters. A few small cookies can be added for a special treat with the recipe included below.
Nutrition Facts: 419 calories; 11 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 14 mg cholesterol; 65 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 6 g fiber; 679 mg sodium; 415 mg potassium.
This egg salad bento box is a hearty lunch and snack all in one. Spoon the egg salad into a lettuce “bowl” to keep it looking pretty and enjoy with cocktail bread and veggies. Toss banana and blueberries with yogurt to keep the bananas from turning brown. Save the chocolate chips and pistachios for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Nutrition Facts: 556 calories; 24 g fat (6 g sat, 8 g mono); 425 mg cholesterol; 69 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 10 g fiber; 611 mg sodium; 1146 mg potassium.
Kelly La Rocco and Ken Mason serve as registered dietitian and first cook, respectively, at Homestead Hospital.
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