Raising healthy kids is tough enough. Packing healthy lunches shouldn’t be. Here are 10 simple recipes that are easy on your budget, easy to make, and best of all easy for picky eaters taste buds!
1. Corn Chip Pizza
Try this delicious and healthy alternative for pizza loving kids. Simply wrap in tin foil when cooled.
- Round tortilla corn chips
Spoon a little salsa and cheese on each tortilla. Cook on foil-lined tray in toaster oven until the cheese has melted and is brown at the edges.
Add a layer of refried beans beneath the salsa. If your kids like guacamole, guac-a-go for it. Hey, get wild, and add cilantro! Ole!
2. Gluten Free Carrot Muffins
Jessica Seinfeld had it right. Why buy expensive, sugar-laden muffins that have no nutritional value? Consider this delicious alternative. (Your kids wont know what hit them they are that good.) The best part? They are gluten free.
- 2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Mix the above ingredients in a bowl.
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 apple peeled, cored and grated
In another bowl, beat:
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
- One teaspoon of ginger
Put in a lined muffin tin. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
3. Coconut Cookie Bars
The only problem with these bars is you might go co-co-nutty and eat them before your kids get to them! Restrain yourself, or at least double the recipe. Youll be glad you did.
- 3 cups rolled oats, lightly toasted
- 1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup dried blueberries
A handful of carob or dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line the bottom and sides of a 13x 9x 1 baking sheet (aka a quarter sheet pan) with parchment paper. (Note: Leave a slight flap of parchment on all sides, hanging over the edge. Lightly grease with coconut oil and set aside.)
Place first seven ingredients into a large mixing bowl and toss together. Pour the maple syrup, oil, honey, and sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat and stir together. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
Pour contents of saucepan over the oat mixture and stir together until fully incorporated. Fold in dried fruit until well combined.Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan and press down until you have one big rectangular block of granola.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until light- golden brown (you dont want the top to get too dark because the rest of the sides will be slightly darker).
Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Lift the granola out of the baking sheet, and allow to completely cool before cutting into bars. Serve.
4. Healthy Chicken Nuggets
Don’t go winging this recipe. It isn’t hard, but you want to follow it closely so you don’t fowl up. (Okay, so the jokes on this are cheesy, but the end result is worth it.)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon All Spice
- 1/2 vegetable oil
Beat the egg and buttermilk in a. Soak chicken pieces in egg mixture while you gather remaining ingredients. In another bowl combine panko with paprika, garlic powder, All Spice, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set a rack on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lift chicken from buttermilk. Let excess liquid drain back into the bowl, then dip into panko and turn to coat on all sides.
Put chicken in oil and cook until they are golden and crispy and cooked through about 5 minutes for each side. Transfer chicken to the rack to cool. Once they are no longer hot, cover in tin foil for lunches.
5. Berry Delicious Granola
This granola takes very little time, uses minimal butter, and tastes like heaven. Add a small carton of yogurt and use the granola as topping.
- 4 cups oats
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 2 tablespoons melted Butter, Unrefined coconut oil or ghee
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1/4 cup pureMaple Syrup
Chopped Dried Fruit such as figs, freeze dried raspberries, raisins
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together the wet ingredients. Combine with the oats, being sure they are well coated. Spread the granola mixture on a prepared sheet pan in a single layer. Bake for about 50 minutes, toss with a long pair of tongs every 15 minutes. Granola will crisp up when cool. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Note: Do not use quick cooking oats for this recipe.
6. Carrot Mac and Cheese
Want kids to eat veggies but a whole carrot stick intimidates them? Use the stick as a wand and do some magic in the form of carrot Mac and Cheese.
- 1 lb (16 oz bag) pasta
- 1/2 lb carrots, washed and chopped
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 1/2 milk
- 1/2 C cheddar or Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 C parmesan cheese, shredded
- salt & pepper to taste
Cook carrots in one pot until softened. In a second pot, start boiling water for noodles. When carrots done, add to blender. Add in the milk and puree until smooth. Set cooked noodles aside. Melt butter. Add carrot puree, noodles, and cheese. Stir until well mixed.
7. Fruit Smoothies
Smoothies for lunch? You betcha! All you need is a thermos and your kid will be cooler than Elsa at Disney on Ice.
- 1 cup berries of your choice
- ½ banana
- ½ apple juice
- ½ cup silken tofu or almond milk
Combine berries, banana, apple juice and tofu in a blender; blend until smooth.
8. Ants on a Log
Yes, we really are including this recipe. Why? Because its an oldie but goody. And so easy, you can prep on the run!
- Peanut butter
Spread peanut butter on celery sticks and sprinkle them with raisins.
9. Kale chips
Trying to get your kids to eat kale can be harder than trying to get kids to eat broccoli. But add a few ingredients and you can spin a flavor twist that gives kale new lunch box appeal. They are easy to prep, too.
- Olive Oil
- Garlic salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Throw a bag of pre-washed kale into a bowl and soak with ½ cup of olive oil. Place kale on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Once cool, put in baggie for your kids to enjoy!
10. Olive Oil and Parmesan Air Popcorn
Who doesn’t like popcorn? This simple twist keeps it healthy with a flavorful pop!
- Corn kernels
- Garlic Salt
- Olive Oil
Put one cup of kernels in an air popper. When all is popped, toss in two table spoons of fresh olive oil. Sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Mix in 1 table spoon of parmesan
We’d love to hear some of your ideas. Please feel free to leave a comment and share recipes of your own.
by Andrea Frazer for SimpleRx
Andrea Frazer is a writer, wife, mom to two Tweens and a rescue dog. Check back for more of her posts and tips on healthy living, healthcare awareness as well as the latest news and ways to benefit from SimpleRx Prescription Discount Program.