About Me

Note from Maria: I am a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Public Health Degree in Nutrition from UNC at Chapel Hill. I have a passion for helping people with nutrition & wellness, especially moms. Women & moms provide care for everyone else often at the expense of considering their own needs. I hope to provide good resources to you to help you make nutrition and wellness a priority.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Healthy and fun school lunch ideas

My 9 year old daughter suggested I write about healthy ideas for lunches since school starts on Monday, what a great idea!!  Many of these ideas are good for grown ups too!!  So here it goes.....

  • 100% whole grain bread such as grain bagels/mini bagels, English muffins, pita bread, tortilla wraps. 
  • Filling ideas: leftover meat, low fat/low sodium deli meats (no nitrates), cheese and/or veggies, hummus and veggies, chicken and corn, ham and avocado, pimento cheese, egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, grated carrot and cheese, or cream cheese and jam (no sugar or artificial sweeteners added). 
  • Whole grain raisin bread with cream cheese
  • Make pinwheel sandwiches by laying meat and cheese flat on a tortilla, then roll up like a jelly roll and cut into slices. 
  • For younger kids, using cookie cutters, cut bread into fun shapes for sandwiches. 
  • Homemade healthy "lunchables" with whole grain crackers (such as triscuits or kashi), low fat cheese, low fat/low sodium deli meat. Even better made with leftover meat instead of processed meat such as grilled chicken strips with honey mustard sauce. 
  • Pizza "lunchable" with white wheat sandwich rounds, a container of pizza sauce to spread and shredded low fat mozzarella cheese. This is one of my child's favorites.  
  • Veggies as carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices, baby corn, cherry tomatoes, sliced zucchini, with dip or hummus. 
  • Celery filled with cream cheese or nut/seed butter
  • Fruit such as pomegranate seeds, melon, berries or clementines.
  • Cheese cubes or sticks
  • Popcorn on the stove popped the old fashioned way and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. 
  • Snack mixes with whole grain cereals, pretzels, dried fruit, whole grain crackers and a few yogurt raisins or dark chocolate pieces. 
  • Fruit & cheese skewers using small “stirrer straws” 
  • Frozen go-gurts which will be almost thawed by lunch time. (also use an ice pack to keep it from getting too warm)
  • Homemade whole grain muffins or mini muffins. Have your children help you bake them. They can be sweet or savory such as pizza muffins. You can make a big batch and freeze them. I will post pizza muffin recipe this week in a separate post. Here are some of  my other favorite muffin recipes http://divanutrition.blogspot.com/2013/05/banana-oat-muffins.htmlhttp://divanutrition.blogspot.com/2012/09/pumpkin-muffins.htm 
  • Boxed milk (preferably low fat plain white milk)
  • Bottled water 
  • 100% fruit juice. Kids should only have one serving of juice per day. 
Other tips:
  • Prep lunches the night before so that everything is ready to go in the morning. 
  • Place perishable items in the refrigerator until morning which can be quickly added to the lunch box with an ice pack or two in the morning. 
  • Use fun containers. They make lots of great ones with ice packs. 

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