Inspired lunchbox meal ideas in honor of National Nutrition Month
While it’s definitely still winter in some parts of the country, others are starting to show signs of spring. Regardless of the weather, the season will be officially springing soon. And in honor of March’s designation as National Nutrition Month, Apex Leadership Co. offers the following healthy lunchbox meal ideas that encourage eating fresh with the season!
While charcuterie boards have risen in popularity at restaurants around the world, they are not that complicated to replicate for a child’s lunchbox. They provide well-rounded variety and can be customized to each child’s preferences, so they are easy for parents with kids that have their own particular tastes. Consider rolling slices of uncured/nitrate-free or minimally processed deli meat (such as chicken and turkey), a few cubes of cheese, dried fruit or fresh berries, whole grain crostini, crackers or pretzels, and nuts (such as almonds or cashews).
Leftovers for Lunch
Last night’s dinner can be recreated to be today’s lunch! For example, whole-grain noodles that were served with marinara sauce and turkey meatballs can be sauteed with vegetables and a Thai-inspired peanut dressing (which is surprisingly easy to whip together from scratch with just a few key ingredients) for a filling, Asian-inspired lunch chock full of nutrients and vitamins. Plain brown rice can be jazzed up with peas, carrots and green onions, and tossed with a few eggs and soy sauce for mock-fried rice that provides a balanced source of vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. A good thermos or stainless steel container can help these items stay warm until the lunch bell rings.
Think Beyond the Bread
Rather than the usual peanut butter and jelly (aka PB&J) or bologna and cheese on white, why not mix things up and serve something “beyond the bread.” Hummus served with whole grain pita, cucumber slices and carrot sticks is an appetizer that can eat like a meal with some roasted chicken, for example. And PB&J can be dressed up by serving a “dippable” version featuring almond butter, no-sugar-added preserves, apple or pear slices, and crunchy whole-grain breadsticks.
For another inspired lunchbox idea that can be easily whipped up in the morning, consider planning ahead and pre-making some items for the week that can be mixed and matched for a different lunch every day of the week. For example, hard-boiled eggs, healthy pumpkin, zucchini, carrot or banana muffins, homemade granola and trail mix can all be pre-made and will store well for a week of lunches on the go. Add in some veggie sticks, fresh fruit or some air-popped popcorn, some dark chocolate chips and coconut flakes, and voila, a “mash-up” of a lunch that can be customized into various combinations all week long.
Apex Leadership Co. encourages families to start discussing the importance of nutrition early on and to keep the conversation going. Proper nutrition can fuel a healthy body and a healthy brain! So get eating and enjoy the process of making healthy meals for the whole family!