The summer days filled with sleeping in, beach trips and sleepovers have quickly been replaced with homework, sports practices, playdates, and much earlier wake-up calls. Getting back into the swing of the school year can be a challenge for parents and kids alike. While sending along money for a cafeteria lunch may seem like a more convenient option than going in the DIY direction every morning, the cost can add up quickly. Plus, there’s no way to guarantee your child is making the most nutritious choices in the lunch line.
According to Kids Health, children should eat at least two servings of fruit and vegetables at lunch to hit their five total servings a day. It’s also important to switch up the lunch menu and keep things fresh, making sure each midday meal is balanced with carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Take a break from classic PB&J and use the lunch ideas below as inspiration to fuel your kids’ bodies and minds with organic ingredients all year long.
Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad is anything but boring, making it the perfect lunch for parents and kids alike. Use Green Valley organic whole kernel corn, chunks of avocado, pesto sauce and tomatoes for a flavor combination that’s anything but bland. Traditional pasta can be substituted for protein pasta, gluten-free pasta, or other ingredients based on dietary needs. Add grilled chicken for extra protein and energy.
Deli Meat and Cheese Roll Ups
At the dinner table, it can be a struggle to get kids to sit still and not play with their food. Give them permission to have a little fun by packing their favorite deli meat and cheese to roll up and enjoy how they please. Use mini cookie cutters to create fun, seasonal shapes with their favorite cheeses. Add some fruit, veggies or yogurt to your child’s lunch box for a fun and filling lunch that gives them the energy to finish their day strong.
Hummus, Carrots and Pita Bread
Hummus makes the perfect snack at lunchtime, after school, or any time. Making your own hummus is easier than you think. Try our classic garbanzo bean recipe variations for a flavorful and tasty way to enjoy veggies. Use Green Valley organic garbanzo beans as a wholesome source of protein. Pack some carrots, cucumbers, pretzels and pita chips for a fun lunch you can feel good about.
Leftover Rice Salad with Veggies
For a plant-based main course, toss in leftover rice and veggies from dinner as a makeshift salad. Rice provides a nutritious source of energy and grains. Don’t have any leftover rice? Green Valley organic rice can be heated in the microwave and ready to go in just 90 seconds. Try jasmine rice, basmati rice, long grain rice, long grain white and wild rice as the base, and top with their favorite veggies, chicken or another source of protein. Add some cheese, yogurt, or nuts as a side to make sure your child is getting the most nutrients out of their meal.
Southwest Chicken Salad Wrap
Packed lunches don’t have to be boring. This lunchtime solution is perfect for you to bring to work or pack in a lunchbox for school. Spice up your child’s lunchtime routine with these southwest chicken salad tortilla wraps. Use grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, tomato, peppers, avocado, and Green Valley organic whole kernel corn and black beans for a satisfying and easy meal. Add some apple slices and pretzels to the lunchbox for a well-balanced lunch.
White Bean Chicken Chili
As the weather gets colder, chili makes for the perfect protein-packed meal for lunch and dinner. Reheat last night’s dinner to minimize food waste and make the most of your nutritious weeknight meals. Green Valley organic Great Northern beans provide 108% of your daily protein needs in every pouch, and are also a great source of fiber and iron. Use a stainless steel thermos to lock in heat until it’s time for lunch. Pack along some shredded cheese to sprinkle on top.