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Kid-Approved Recipes for Littles Who Lunch

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What parents haven’t had the experience of watching their children’s tiny noses turn up at a five-star meal that’s taken hours (or at least an hour) to prepare? While nothing’s a sure thing with little ones, we asked Michelle Graves, Hancock Wellness Center dietitian, nutritionist, and certified health and wellness coach, for a few healthy and kid-approved lunch recipes. Try them!

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

These are great for an at-home lunch, but can also be packed in aluminum foil for a bite on the go. If you’re packing a lunch, you can serve this with a variety of fresh fruits, and veggies!

 

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas (corn works too!)

Black beans

Cheese

Optional: bell peppers, onions, avocados, salsa, spinach or fresh cilantro

 

Instructions:

1.) Drain and rinse black beans

2.) Chop up and sauté vegetables in skillet to your desired softness.  Add beans at the end just to warm.

3.) Spray skillet lightly with non-cooking spray (if desired).  Place 1 tortilla in the skillet and fill with bean and vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle desired amount of cheese on top.  Place another tortilla on the top and cook until both tortillas are golden brown.

4.) Cut tortilla into 4 wedges.  Dip in salsa and enjoy!

Healthier Penne Chicken Alfredo with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

This dish may be reserved for more adventurous child eaters unless, of course, you choose to keep the cauliflower ingredient to yourself. Whip this up for dinner, keeping leftovers in a container for the kids’ lunch the next day.

 

Ingredients:

Whole wheat penne pasta

Alfredo sauce (recipe below)

Chicken

Optional: broccoli, peas, spinach, etc.

 

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce: 

Ingredients 

2 cups raw cauliflower florets

2 tsp. minced garlic, or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. butter or olive oil, or omit for fat-free

1 cup milk of choice

Optional – 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or nutritional yeast

Optional – 1/4 cup diced shallot or onion

Instructions:

1.) Put all ingredients into a medium pot and bring to a complete boil, then cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is fall-apart tender.

2.) Remove from heat. Pulverize with an immersion or regular blender.

3.) Serve over whole wheat pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, rice, roasted vegetables, or whatever you wish.

 

Makes about 2 cups, and it gets much thicker as it sits.

This is a classic, but tuna can be subbed out for chicken if your kid isn’t into fish. Check out the recipe in the link (above, in the title) for a delicious and kid-friendly version. You can serve it on bread or pack it in a lunch box with crackers. Don’t forget to add some fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, yogurt, or trail mix to round out the meal.

Other healthy lunch ideas can include wraps, soups, pita and hummus, or deli meat and crackers. Cubed cheeses, fresh fruits and cut veggies add more wholesome, fresh foods to your children’s diets. And adding in a dessert or juice box is okay on occasions, too, but keeping blood sugar levels stable makes it easier for kids to concentrate on schoolwork. And if you’re looking for more tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle, contact us at the Hancock Wellness Center. We have locations in New Palestine, Greenfield, and McCordsville to make it convenient to visit one of our facilities.

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