Healthy school lunch recipes you'll love to make

By Sabina Dana Plasse

When kids eat well, they perform better at learning, activities and sports. Preparing healthy and delicious lunches for children can have a positive effect on their education and growth. Packing a wholesome and energizing lunch for children is one part of the day a mother or father can control and feel good about.

Making a great lunch for school includes a balance of nutritional foods. Creating easy to eat lunches that are appetizing and appealing takes a little planning but is well worth the results, which include a happy child. Growing children can eat fruits, vegetables, proteins and diary products depending upon their nutritional needs and health. When deciding what to include in your children's lunches, it's good idea to know your child or children's schedules. A big day of sports or tests can be assisted with a lunch to provide energy and concentration.

Some ideas for lunch can include sandwiches, roll-ups, salads and smoothies. A turkey or sliced chicken sandwich can include vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes and lettuce in a tortilla wrap with cheese or on whole grain bread. A peanut butter and banana wrap is also another tasty treat full of protein and potassium, which is great for a big day of activities. A cold pasta salad is also an easy solution for getting children to eating vegetables. Using fun pasta shapes and mild seasonings can be a tasty lunch treat.

Children always appreciate desserts, but they don't have to be full of chemicals and additives to appeal to a child's taste buds. Fruit slices and yogurt dip can be fun to eat and full of nutrition. Anything mini is usually a hit with children. Packing homemade bakery items to include muffins or cookies in miniature will have kids eating every crumb. Other snack ideas such as a bag of nuts with yogurt or chocolate covered raisins are another way to offer nutritional foods to kids. Adding M&Ms will also entice kids to eat snack mix with raisins and nuts.

Crackers are another item to add to a lunch box to give kids fun finger food and when prepared with cheese slices can offer more nutrition. Crackers can also be a creative food made in shapes and figures that kids will like.

When it comes to drinks, juice boxes are very popular and satisfying for kids. Paying attention to ingredients in juice boxes will provide useful nutrition information so kids are not loading up on too many sugars and additives but good fruits. A thermos filled with a delicious fruit smoothie is a healthy option for making sure your child or children are getting enough fruit in their diet.

Last but not least, pack a surprise in the lunch box. A note or small keepsake will provide a smile and will have your child or children thinking positive thoughts about you. They know you care and this small gesture adds a different type of boost to their day.

Turkey roll-up


One teaspoon grated lemon peel One tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise One tortilla wheat or spinach One cup loosely packed baby spinach leaves Two ounces turkey breast, sliced (try to stay away from processed meats) One small tomato, sliced Two slices of cheddar cheese


1. Stir grated lemon peel with mayonnaise and spread over tortilla.

2. Place cheese, tomato slices, turkey and spinach on tortilla and roll up.

3. Cut in half or in several pieces.

Banana and peanut butter roll-up


1/2{}cup of reduced-fat peanut butter 1/3 cup of vanilla low-fat yogurt One tablespoon orange juice Two ripe bananas, sliced Four (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Combine peanut butter and yogurt and stir until smooth.

2. Drizzle juice over bananas and toss gently to coat.

3. Spread about three tablespoons peanut butter mixture over each tortilla and leave a{}1/2 inch border.

4. Arrange banana slices in a single layer over peanut butter mixture.

5. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over banana slices. Roll up.

6. Slice each roll into 6 pieces.



One cup of milk or yogurt Use two or three fruits: Banana chunks, strawberries, raspberries, melon cubes, oranges, sliced peaches, pineapples, kiwi, papayas or mangoes (fruits can be a combination of frozen and fresh fruit). Add a flavoring of vanilla extract, nutmeg or cinnamon Add a sweetener of honey, brown sugar or maple syrup

Place in blender and blend until smooth.

Ham and pasta salad


Four cups pasta in animal shapes or alphabets 16 ounces of ham or turkey ham, cubed 12 ounces mild cheddar or marble jack cheese cubed 1-1/2 cups low fat mayonnaise 1/2-teaspoon pepper Eight ounces peas


1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Drain and rinse with cold water and place in a large bowl.

3. Add mayonnaise, cheese and ham and pepper.

4. Mix in the peas. Chill overnight.

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