Happy Meals…Healthy, FUN Lunches for Kids

by Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD

In a pickle about what to serve the kids for lunch? Well, read on, friends, for meals that will satisfy you (convenient & healthy) and them (tasty & cool)! Here are some ideas to get you packin’ and them snackin’…
Tip: Add a 16oz water bottle to each lunch to promote adequate hydration, especially important in hot weather and for physical activity. Water has the added benefit of being sugar-free!

Kick It Up a Notch
Pita Pocket sandwich with BBQ-flavored grilled chicken strips, part-skim shredded cheese, hummus or guacomole
Small snack-size box raisins (130 calories)
Baby carrots & ranch dip
4oz yogurt

Breakfast for Lunch PB & J Waffle Sandwich (do not use if there is a peanut allergy)
2 whole-grain waffles (Try Vans or Kashi brands)
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (Try Skippy Natural or Whole Foods Kids No Stir Peanut Butter) 1 Tbsp all-fruit spread (or substitute 1/2 mashed banana and spread it on waffle)
string cheese
fresh fruit (try pre-sliced apples in snack-sized packs–kids love ‘em!)

Top THIS Bagel (do not use if there is a peanut allergy)
1 bagel spread with 2 Tbsp light cream cheese
Topping choices: raisins, Craisins, Gogi berries, sliced apples, tomato, salad greens, bell pepper, shredded carrots, smoked salmon, all-fruit spread
1/2 cup tupperware container of fresh/thawed berries
Granola Bar (Try Nature Valley or Kashi TLC, preferably one with less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of fiber)
celery sticks spread with peanut butter

Sweet Tooth
Tupperware container filled with 2 cups mixed fresh fruit (berries, apples, melon, peach, pear, banana) Drizzle lemon juice over fruit to prevent discoloration.
8 oz yogurt
1/2 cup low fat granola or Raisin Bran (tastes great mixed wtih yogurt)
1/2 sandwich with turkey or chicken, shredded veggies, mustard or light mayo
1 snack size candy bar (3 Musketeers, Milky Way, Twix, etc.)

Great Snacks for Kids
Fresh Fruit–experiment with starfruit, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, blackberries, seedless grapes

Jicama (sliced lengthwise, these make great, juicy vegetable sticks)

Baked Tortilla Chips & Salsa

Late July brand snack-packs of mini cheese & crackers, and mini peanut butter & crackers

Fruit Leathers

Kashi Go Lean Crunch! cereal

Mini-pretzels (unsalted)

PB & J saltine sandwiches (spread peanut butter on one saltine & all-fruit spread on another, and create a mini-sandwich that packs an energy “crunch”)

Popcorn (Add flavor with cinnamon and a sprinkling of sugar, Parmesan cheese, or a snack size bag of peanut M&Ms tossed into already popped corn)

String cheese


Cottage Cheese Doubles

Lowfat Chocolate Milk

Rice Milk/Almond Milk/Soymilk

Vegetarian Chili/Bean-based soup (choose low sodium versions)

4 oz cottage cheese snack packs (These taste great mixed with raisins, cinnamon and sugar, or topped with granola or Kashi Go Lean Crunch! and berries. You can also mix with fruited yogurt for a high-protein “pudding.”)

Apple or pear and cheese slices
(Try an apple with sharp cheddar cheese and a pear with swiss cheese)

Snack-size candy bars (Kids can enjoy their sweet treats in healthier portions!)

  • Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD is a Cornell University graduate and Registered Dietitian with expertise in a variety of medical issues, from diabetes and cardiac care, to renal health and GI issues. She has a strong interest and background in weight management, emotional eating, sports nutrition and corporate wellness. She maintains a private practice, working with clients of all ages, from pediatric to geriatric, and has done freelance writing for DrWeil.com. Call 619-206-8022 to schedule an appointment.
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    admin on November 15th 2007 in Uncategorized