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Quick, Healthy Lunch Ideas
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It's 7 a.m. and you're standing in your kitchen staring blankly into the fridge and wondering, "What am I going to make for my kid's lunch? That's fast? And healthy? That he'll actually eat? "By all means, give your child the staples he loves a few times a week, but there are lots of other nutritious options that you really can pull together in no time," says Tampa, FL, clinical pediatric dietitian Sarah Krieger, R.D.
Try these healthy lunch ideas:
Whole-wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese; red, yellowor orange pepper slices; a small apple, pear or some peeled orange sections.
(Check out other 15 Nut-Free Lunches!)
Mashed hard-boiled egg mixed with quartered cherry tomatoes and low-fat mayo on whole-wheat bread; blueberries or sliced strawberries.
Cubes of leftover cooked chicken mixed with pasta and a veggie like peas, pepper slices or cherry tomatoes cut into quarters; a banana.
Whole-grain crackers with hummus or yogurt for dipping; a banana; baby carrots (be sure they're steamed until soft for kids under age 4).
Whole-grain tortilla filled with low-fat turkey cold cuts or diced leftover chicken, mustard, lettuce and tomato; grapes cut into quarters.
Put a serving of precooked pasta into a container and let your child choose the "mix ins" he prefers, such as mozzarella cubes, grape tomatoes, turkey and Italian vinaigrette.
Mix some cold whole-grain spaghetti noodles with a little peanut satay sauce and frozen veggies, like a blend of broccoli, carrots and snow peas (yep, they'll thaw by lunchtime).
Spread low-fat refried beans on a whole-wheat tortilla, add grated cheese, lettuce and whatever other toppings your child likes; roll up and pack with a side of salsa.
Think outside the sandwich box. Try a hard-boiled egg (keep it well-chilled), a whole-grain mini-bagel or crackers, some hummus, a cheese stick and a side of fruit.
Add BBQ sauce to shredded, roasted chicken (leftover or a store rotisserie bird). Pack a whole-wheat hamburger bun and a spoon so your child can assemble it.