Simply Healthy Family: Guest Post: Melanie from Nutritious Eats! Healthy, Fresh Ideas for Your Child's School Lunch.

31.1.11

Guest Post: Melanie from Nutritious Eats! Healthy, Fresh Ideas for Your Child's School Lunch.

Please welcome Melanie from Nutritious Eats for some really fun and new lunch box/bento ideas for your kiddos. I love how she is thinking outside the box here and making healthy, well balanced meals that are totally kid friendly. Even kids who love sandwiches probably get tired of them day after day. Not to mention, variety is a good thing! I know I have a picky eater who is in Kindergarten and doesn't like sandwiches at all. These lunches are so wonderful. Thanks for sharing Melanie!

 I strongly urge you all to head over to Nutritious Eats to check out the rest of Melanie's great ideas and recipes! Don't forget to say hi! Happy Sharing!


Welcome Melanie Flinn from Nutritious Eats!

I am a Registered Dietitian, fitness enthusiast, mother of 2 and wife to a Marine. I am here to share my love of food, tasty recipes and expert advice with you!

This seemed to be a popular topic for everyone. If you missed the first post, you can find it here. New ideas are always welcomed for me as well so if you have some favorites please share!
The main lesson for today: don’t assume your kids won’t like something. Every child is different and will have different tastes, but you won’t know until you offer something (usually more than once!). Please do not give up on them. If you offer eggs three times and your child won’t eat them, wait a few weeks and give it a go once again.


Here are three more lunch ideas from my kitchen to yours!


Lunch #1: Bagel Bites, cutie orange, crunchy bell pepper strips



I loved bagel bites as a kid. No need to buy those frozen- they take a minute to make. I use the mini bagels (usually in whole wheat but I can’t find them here). Then just top the bagels with tomato sauce, cheese and/or whatever toppings you like. I kept this one simple with some turkey pepperoni that I cut into fourths. Broil for a few minutes until the edges start to brown and the cheese is meted. The cutie oranges are a big hit with my kids. When packing to go, I just peel it and separate the wedges for them.



Lunch #2 Whole Wheat Pasta with beans and cheese



Whole wheat pasta, dressed in a little olive oil, garlic powder, a pinch of salt and Parmesan cheese. Tossed with edamame (soy beans) and cheese cubes. Always a side of fruit and/or veggies.

It’s important to offer a few different food groups at each meal. This meal actually includes something from each group: 1) fruits (the fruit salad) 2) vegetables (the carrots) 3) milk (cheese cubes and glass of milk not pictured) 4) grains (the pasta) 5) meats and beans (edamame) 6) oil (um, that’s obvious- olive oil!). Obviously the few soybeans they will eat won’t count as a full serving of protein, but it still contributes to that food group and is a very well-balanced meal!



By the way, we have a “try one bite” rule. Period. No exceptions. They are allowed to not like whatever it is they’re eating and I won’t force them to clean their plate, but they must at least try one bite of each item. This rule works really well for us because the kids don’t feel pressured and they’re more open to trying the food knowing there isn’t going to be a fight at the dinner table.



Lunch #3: Egg and Cheese Sandwich, Tortilla chips with avocado chunks, blueberries


Our bento box was missing so I had to sub our Toy Story plate. This is a spin off the Egg McMuffin. You might think an egg sandwich sounds strange for a kid, but I remember getting egg sandwiches in my lunch back in elementary school and loved them! We’ve been using a lot of these whole grain “thin” sandwich rounds for lunches. My kids seemed to be getting tired of regular sliced bread and I noticed once I switched to these, they both started eating more of their sandwich. Plus, they’re great for anyone looking to cut back on some carbs. Note: if you are brand new to the kitchen I will explain how to make this at the end of the post.


Don’t forget, these meals can be for you too! In fact I ate the same egg sandwich with spinach and avocado on mine. These hold up well so can be made the night before if you are packing your lunch for work.


So to sum up, expose your kiddos to different foods early on. If the first time you pack an egg sandwich for example is when they’re 10, yes, they might think it’s a little strange. If they’re exposed to new foods at a young age, they will likely eat a more balanced, healthy diet in the future. Also keep in mind, they might not like your creations or want to try a new food, but just seeing and hearing about those foods at the dinner table will help them in the long run.



How to make the egg sandwich:


1) Start by turning on a skillet to medium heat. Spread the bread very lightly with butter or butter “spread” and place face down in pan until it warms up and gets a little brown. After a minute or two, remove bread and top with cheese slice (no need to melt it, the hot egg will take care of that!).

2) Wipe the crumbs out of the skillet. Beat an egg in a bowl with a tiny splash of milk, pour it into the skillet coated with cooking spray ( still on medium heat). I let the egg spread out into the skillet, then use my spatula to work the sides up, give it a flip and fold it in half. Optional: season with salt and pepper (I usually omit the s&p for the kids).

3) Place egg patty on top of cheese and it will melt that cheese. You can be creative here and add in what ever else you want- ham, sausage, spinach, tomato, veggie patty, etc.


I want to know!
Question: What are your kid’s favorite lunches?
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9 comments:

  1. WOw i think my girls would really love those lunches thanks for the great ideas!!!

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  2. Great lunch suggestions! It's so important to show parents that healthy lunches CAN be easy. I'm loving the egg + cheese sandwich. That looks delicious!

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  3. Always nice to see some "different" lunch ideas as after 5 days a week, it can get a little boring.

    My son's favorite is pizza bagels that I make on whole grain everything bagels.

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  4. Those are such a beautiful lunch ideas. I love the presentation as well:) Wish you a lovely Monday
    Kisses

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  5. Hy Gwen,
    First time here...fabulous recipe collections you have..glad to follow u..
    do stop by mine sometime...
    Tasty appetite

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  6. I'm glad that Melanie got to visit! This is such a great post...and I don't even have kids. Many of these lunches would be fun for me to take to work (and I know that my niece and nephew would love them!) Thank you both for sharing with me. I hope you are staying safe and warm. It is even too cold in my part of the country...and I'm in Austin!

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  7. I don't have any kids...but this kind of lunch really makes me wish I was a kid again!

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  8. Ps: I am hosting Paloma’s Nest GIVEAWAY today:).Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

    Kisses and hugs, ym dear

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  9. Presently, I don't have kids yet but I have two little nephews that are a happy eater. They enjoy eating food so much. And so these ideas were very wonderful. It's indeed nutritious. Fruits, breads, veggies they are truly a healthy snack. This will make their tiffin containers filled with yummy treats. =D

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