Getting ready for back to school? If your child carries lunch, you need to come up with five days a week worth of healthy lunches that will stay fresh in a locker, and which your kids will actually eat.
For a lot of kids, the obvious answer is peanut butter on whole wheat bread. It’s high in protein and healthy fats, shelf stale, travels well, and practically everybody likes it. But plenty of schools, including preschool programs, forbid nuts in lunches — for all students, not just those with allergies. You need some alternatives.
The magical muffin formula in the story below makes a great pairing with a hearty soup.
An insulated lunch box and a frozen ice pack can keep a salad fresh and tasty all morning. Add cut up chicken, cooked whole grains, beans, and garden vegetables to make a hearty dish.
Check out our recipe for Pork Stir-Fry Salad in the story below.
Use that insulated lunchbox and ice packs for sandwiches, too, if you want to include meat and cheese. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends using two ice packs. You should also make the sandwich the night before and refrigerate it so that it starts out cold enough.
Toss leftovers — by the time your child gets home, the sandwich will have been out too long and bacteria will have had time to develop.
Sunflower butter is a good alternative to peanut butter. It’s nutritious and stable at room temperature. It doesn’t taste exactly like peanut butter, so give your kids a chance to get used to it before you rely on it for lunches.
Whatever you choose for the main dish, be sure to include fruit and vegetables. Alternatives to chips could include nut-free crackers, popcorn, or whole-grain pretzels. A treat, like a cookie or a small amount of trail mix, can round out the lunch.