If you are anything like me, making healthy food choices has found its way lower on the priority list than in years past. After months of infrequent trips to the store and stress-eating our way through dizzying news cycles, the need for a steady diet has never been greater.
For those of us sending children back to school, this is especially important. Kids need a nutrient-rich diet to keep them at their best, both mentally and physically. And while things may look different this year—with some schools producing fewer options at the cafeteria for instance, you can support your child by sending a quality meal to eat every day, and thankfully you don’t have to break the budget to do so.
Today we’ll explore five tasty and budget-friendly meals for children to bring to school—or enjoy at home if your child will be resuming courses virtually or remotely.
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1. Nut butter “quesadillas”
Who says tortillas must be filled with savoury ingredients, or that peanut butter belongs only on sliced bread? This super quick, protein-rich lunch is a weekly staple in our home. Add sliced bananas, honey, or jam to sweeten, and pack some fruit and crunchy veggies to snack on.
2. Loaded baked potatoes
A baked—or, let’s be honest, microwaved—potato is the perfect canvas for a pleasing sack lunch. Depending on your child’s preferences, you can stuff these spuds with cheese, sour cream, leftover chili or soup, bacon, herbs, you name it.
3. Caprese on ciabatta rolls
A perfect late summer snack to help you use up those last tomatoes and basil leaves from your garden. Simply toss fresh tomatoes, basil and thick-sliced mozzarella in olive oil and balsamic, and layer them on fresh Ciabatta rolls or a pita pocket for a healthy, filling lunch.
4. Make-ahead pasta salad with peas
Pasta salad is a perfect energy-boosting dish that is easy to throw together the night before. Use bite sized pastas (think bow-tie, rotini) and toss it in your favourite dressing. Add lots of peas and other veggies such as celery for crunch. Pack with some sliced fruit for a balanced cold lunch.
5. Homemade fruit & nut energy bars
Energy boosting bars are popular lunch box staples, but can be pretty pricey. Fortunately, you can make your own with relative ease. Click here for a variety of energy bar copycat recipes from A Mind “Full” Mom.
By freelance writer Riley Herder