With school back in session, the routine of packing lunches comes right along with it. Whether these may be for the kids or for yourself, it’s important to be packing a filling lunch that can re-energize you for the rest of the afternoon and help you avoid that midday slump. The most important thing to remember when adding lunch preparation to your routine is to keep it as simple as possible.
For the adults in the household, one of the easiest options to do is to take leftover meat from the supper before and toss it on top of a bed of greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, etc.). Add additional toppings such as raw veggies, sunflower seeds, avocado and a serving of your favorite dressing. Aim for a dressing that has an olive oil or apple cider vinegar base. If meat is not something you enjoy or you don’t have some on hand, a substitution of hard-boiled eggs, tofu, or addition of some lentils/beans and more seeds can also be used in place of the meat.
Utilizing whole wheat pitas and wraps also provide great options when looking for a filling lunch. With endless combinations that can be made, changing up what’s inside will help keep lunch flavorful and satisfying. The easiest way to make these is to make sure you’re combing a protein, fat, and carb source within each pita/wrap. Combining all these components will lead to a filling lunch, that will keep you full until your next snack or meal time. Some combinations you may want to give a try include:
- Turkey breast + ¼ avocado + leaf lettuce + tomato on a pita/wrap
- Sautéed peppers + spinach + carrot stalks + hummus or avocado spread on pita/wrap
For the kids, packing lunches they will actually eat and enjoy is the main goal. With the taste buds of kids being selective, working with them and knowing what nutritious food they enjoy will be the first step. Below are some great ideas that will hopefully follow suite with your kids taste buds:
- Hard-boiled eggs + 1 zucchini muffin + 1 string cheese + berries of choice + whole grain cracker of choice
- Cracker sandwich: (cheese cubes, turkey slices, whole wheat crackers) + apple + carrots and hummus or ranch
- Peanut butter banana rolls ups: (whole wheat tortilla, peanut butter, banana) + orange + veggie of choice
- Deli Meat rolls up: (cheese slices + leaf lettuce + carrot sticks rolled up in a slice of deli meat) + sea salt popcorn + grapes
- Yogurt parfaits: (Greek or traditional yogurt + whole grain granola + berries) + celery and peanut butter + carrots and cucumbers
Try these lunch combos the next time you pack your kids lunch and feel free to make any one of these lunch ideas for yourself as well!
Written by Miranda Caster
Riverfront Hy-Vee Dietetic Intern
Miranda is a junior at Iowa State University studying Dietetics. On campus she loves to be involved as much as possible. Miranda is a part of the Student Dietetic Association where she is the academic liaison, a member of SmartEats, and a representative of her college (College of Human Sciences) at the university level. After she graduates in 2020, her goal is to become a Sports Dietitian where she can help Athletes perform their best through nutrition.