On-the-go lunch ideas
Remember those lunch boxes your parents would pack up for you before school each day? How nice was it to have a balanced, easy meal prepped and ready for you? Everyday demands like jobs, medical appointments, and, well, life gets in the way of planning a well-balanced and healthy lunch. With Fall around the corner and moms getting into back-to-school mode, I was asked to do a segment on the local news about healthy lunches for kids. I happily agreed, and made the lunches not only kid-friendly, but great choices for my clients as well. Everything is appropriate whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant, or postpartum. Each meal literally took me four minutes to prep, and they can be done the night before so you can grab-and-go for the next day! If you have kids, make an extra lunch for yourself once you are already going through the effort of prepping for those little monsters!
First up is a lighter version of those old-school pizza Lunchables. With six grams of fat, and almost a third of the recommended amount of sodium a day, they are not the best choice. The pepperoni is full of preservatives, nitrites, and a bunch of other junk. I lightened it up, added more fiber sources, included pepperoni that was a better choice for my clients (and kids), and made it all-around a healthier choice.
1 whole-grain English muffin, sliced
2 Tbsp organic jarred pizza sauce (low sodium preferred)
2 Tbsp shredded Mozzarella cheese (preferably sourced from grass-fed cows)
2 Tbsp chopped mushrooms (washed)
4 slices nitrate and nitrite-free, organic turkey pepperoni
Put each ingredient in it's own container and pack your knife, napkin, drink (milk or milk alternative is a great choice), and a fruit. When it's lunchtime, you can DIY your own lunchable! If you are close to a microwave, heat it up for 20 seconds before you enjoy!
I love how Bento boxes are so popular right now. I love organization and they keep everything so neatly in it's own spot. I made my daughter a yogurt bento box one day, and was so jealous of her the entire time she was enjoying it. This is the easiest thing to prep, and you will be so glad you have it in your cooler when hunger strikes mid-day. This is a much better choice than raiding a vending machine or hitting the drive-through.
Yogurts have taken up the dairy aisle and nowadays there is a sea of choices. Unfortunately, many of the choices that are made for kids in mind are higher in sugar, lower in protein and probiotics, and contain food coloring. One way to make a healthier Greek yogurt or Islandic Skyr more appealing to kids (or adults with a kid palate) is to add healthy ingredients!
Grab a Bento box and include some vanilla yogurt or skyr with at least 10 gm protein per serving, lower sugar content, and doesn't contain artificial sweeteners or colorings. The sky is the limit with other ingredients. I included a packet of nuts, some cut mangos, and some low-sugar granola made with pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds. I include a small container to make the parfait if desired, but you can also just mix right in the bento box.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be a healthy choice, but lets face it, those sandwiches can get pretty boring. Elvis famously created his own masterpiece...instead of a classic PBJ he made a peanut butter, banana, bacon, and honey sandwich. He even took it up a notch and made it on white bread and grilled it before he ate it. It sounds amazing, but not the healthiest choice.
To make "the king's" creation more of a fit for my clients (and kids!), I used his sandwich as inspiration but made some tweaks.
2 slices whole-grain bread
1 Tbsp Almond butter (any nut butter is fine-even sunflower butter if there is a concern for a nut allergy)
1 Tsp local honey
2 slices of nitrate and nitrite-free turkey bacon, cooked
5-6 thin slices of a banana
Throw it all together in a sandwich, slice in half (cut off the crusts if your kiddos prefer), and enjoy! Pair it with a glass of milk, some carrot sticks and 1 Tbsp yogurt-based dip, and an apple and you have a super-easy lunch that will keep you fueled to tackle your afternoon.
All of these can be prepared the night before, and all are super easy and delish to be enjoyed at school, at your desk, or in between appointments. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!