Wellness Wednesdays: Back to School Lunch Ideas

Wellness Wednesdays:  Back to School Lunch Ideas

Last week, we focused on quick and healthy back to school breakfast ideas but what about lunch? Preparing and packing lunches the night before will allow you to have more time to focus on a healthy breakfast the following morning. A balanced lunch should include a serving of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and something from the dairy and/or protein food group.

Wraps are good alternatives to the typical whole-grain sandwich. Choose a whole wheat tortilla or pita bread to provide your kiddo with different textures that are still rich in fiber. Whole grain crackers can also be the base for several dips or toppings.

Now that we have our grain, let’s add some flavor! Spreads like mustard, hummus, tzatziki, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, or pesto sauce are good options. Add chicken salad, tuna, or other lean meats like turkey and ham. Top with reduced-fat cheese slices, a slice of tomato, and romaine or butter lettuce. A different option would be to make a Mexican style wrap with ingredients like guacamole, salsa, black beans, grilled chicken chunks, and brown rice or quinoa.

Provide some of these sides to round out the meal:

  • A mixed berry fruit salad
  • Fruit cups (packed in fruit concentrate instead of light syrup)
  • Applesauce ( with no sugar added)
  • Nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or peanuts (if there are no food allergies)
  • Raw veggies such as carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, or sugar snap peas (add light ranch, hummus, or peanut butter to dip)
  • Cheese sticks (look for 2% sharp cheddar or part skim-milk mozzarella)
  • Healthy snack bars (with 3 or more grams of fiber, less than 10 g added sugars, and no more than 1 g saturated fat)
  • Greek yogurt with less than 10-12 g of sugar per packet or opt for the plain option, top with fruit, and drizzle with honey

Complete the meal with either water or 1% milk.

Written by Victoria Luera, Lone Star Circle of Care Registered Dietitian. Submitted by Ashley Wild