By Melinda MacNaughton, MS, RDN
Now that our kids are back in school, we are faced with the chore of getting creative with their lunches so they will actually eat them! There is nothing more distressing than finding half of what you packed was not eaten. To overcome this frustrating scenario, get them involved in packing their own lunches. Offer healthy but appealing choices and consider making some of these recipes below with your kids. The more involved they are in making their food, the more likely they are to eat it. Here are some high protein, nutrient dense (packed with vitamins/minerals/antioxidants), nut free snack ideas/recipes:
- sun butter balls
- sun butter energy bars
- oatmeal energy bars
- blueberry or banana muffins
- kale balls
- mini quiche pies
- hummus and veggie sticks
Adding the nutrients to the recipes:
- for the ball and bar recipes, add in your own ground flax, coconut, chia seeds, quinoa, sunflower, cocoa powder or sesame seeds as you see fit depending on your child’s taste (these recipes are pretty forgiving for the most part)
- for any baked goods such as muffins, substitute some of the nutrients listed above for about 1/4 of the flour in the recipe.
- for the hummus, choose a brand or that is your child’s favorite or make your own
- you can add chia seeds or any type of seeds and flax to the kale balls or quiche, but do so in about 1-2 TBSP quantity.
Some simple, no bake ideas include:
- roasted sunflower seeds
- a few kalamata olives
- a hardboiled egg
- plain yogurt/ honey and pomegranate seeds
- colorful bell peppers cut in strips
- your own GORP concoction (dried cherries, sunflower seeds and a few chocolate chips)
*when trying new foods with kids, add in small amounts at first, then increase gradually in the recipe if they like it.