When a new school year begins so does the task of packing lunchboxes and schoolbags with meals and snacks. Children and teenagers require brain-stimulating, energy-filled foods to achieve their best in academics, sports, and other extracurricular activities. A combination of Protein (P), Fat (F), and Carbohydrate (C) provides children and teenagers with the fuel and fullness necessary for concentration, motivation, and ultimately success! Planning and preparing healthy and fun-to-eat meals and snacks does not have to be a challenge. Here are some suggestions for easy and pleasing lunches and snacks:
- Roll up 2-ounces nitrate-free deli meat slices (P) and 2 slices cheese (F) and pair with 6-ounces vanilla Greek yogurt (P) topped with 1 cup blueberries (C)
- Toast 1 whole grain English muffin (C) and top with 1/4-1/2 cup tomato sauce (C) and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (P) and pair with raw carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower (C) and side of 2 tablespoons ranch dressing (F) for dipping
- 3-ounce chicken or tuna salad (P) made with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (made with olive or canola oil) (F) on 1 medium whole wheat pita (C) with 2 small nectarines (C)
- “Burrito Bowl” – 2-ounce shredded chicken breast (P), 1/4 cup black beans (P), 2-ounce shredded cheddar cheese (F), fresh salsa (C), 1 cup cooked brown rice (C)
- Veggie burger (P) on whole wheat bun(C) with 1 cup carrots and snow peas (C) and 1/2 cup hummus (F) for dipping
- 1 medium apple or banana (C) with 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter or almond butter (F)
- 1 cup carrots (C) with 2-ounce guacamole (F) for dipping and 1 stick string cheese (P)
- 4-ounce Greek yogurt (P) topped with 1/4 cup nuts or coconut (F)
- 1 hard-boiled egg (P) with 1 slice cheddar cheese (F) and 1 cup cubed cantaloupe (C)
- 2 cups air-popped popcorn (C) topped with 1-2 tablespoons real butter (F)
Start the school year off right by packing some of these nutrient dense lunches and snacks! They provide children and teenagers with the mind-powering fuel essential for academic and extracurricular achievement!
Stefanie Marczuk, MS, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian, Inspire Nutrition Inc.