It’s the age-old struggle between parents and their kids. Parents want their children to eat a balanced, nutrient-packed diet. Kids want the empty calories that come from fun foods. Thankfully, as more parents make the connection between good foods and the overall health of their children, more delicious and nutritious recipes start to pop up.
If you’re struggling to come up with new ideas for your children’s lunch now that school is back in session, take a look at some of our most favorite lunch ideas. They range from sweet to savory and each is designed to help your kids succeed.
Protein Pancakes with Blueberries
What’s more fun than breakfast for lunch? No matter what age your child is, a sweet surprise for lunch is the perfect way to delight them and give them plenty of nutrients they need. Blueberries are known to boost concentration and memory due to their natural antioxidant properties. The antioxidants stimulate blood flow to the brain, keeping it fresh and helping promote focus. The extra burst of protein from the pancakes will also help to promote faster brain function that your child needs to combat their focus issues.
Get extra points from your child by creating fun shapes and patterns in the pancakes. Your child will hardly notice they’re enjoying powerful brain food. They’ll just think they’re getting an extra special treat.
Sweet Potato Nachos with Avocado
Similar to blueberries, avocados help promote brain function by enhancing blood flow. They’re also loaded with fiber, which helps fight hunger pains that can distract your child during a lesson plan. Both of these benefits will help tremendously if your child has issues with attention — especially during those after-lunch hours where children tend to lose steam for the day.
Sweet potato nachos with avocado are a fun, nutritious lunch option that your children will love and won’t require much effort from you. You have the option of making them in bulk to serve as snacks and leftovers throughout the week. Just be sure to keep the avocado slices fresh!
Cauliflower pizza for lunch is the perfect compromise between delicious food kids want and nutrients they need. Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin that helps encourage cognitive function and concentration. Plus, it tastes great covered in tomato sauce and cheese. Prevent your kids from feeling a carb crash late in the afternoon while providing them with vitamins that will boost their focus.
A fun bonus benefit to cauliflower pizza is it’s easy to make. Have your kids help you make the pizzas for their lunch the night before as a screen-free activity the whole family will enjoy.
We get it. Sometimes there is just not enough time to make a full pizza for lunch. Or, even more common, there aren’t enough groceries by the time the end of the week rolls around. If that sounds like you, lunch kabobs are your best, time-efficient option.
The first rule of lunch kabobs is there are no rules. You can use a theme (cobb salad kabob or BLT kabob), or you can simply take the best things you have in your refrigerator at the time and throw them together on a stick. As long as you include some leafy greens in the kabob, your kids will get a lunch that has nutrients they need. Some of the best greens for brain function include spinach, kale and collard greens. But lettuce is also great if that’s all you have on hand.
Like the cauliflower pizza, kabobs are a lunch you can encourage your kids to participate in. If they’re old enough, set up the ingredients for them and let them create the kabobs before school.
Always Add Water
One thing that is a must in all children’s lunches is water. Sugary juices and sodas, especially, work against your child if they struggle with attention issues. Water, on the other hand, gives the body and the brain energy to perform all functions including thought and memory processes. If there’s only one change to make to your child’s lunches as they go through the school year is to add water.
Some parents find it helpful to buy a cool water bottle or let their child cover a plain water bottle with stickers and doodles to help make water feel as “fun” as its sugary counterparts. No matter what you do, water is an essential to every lunch.
If you know of some great recipe sites or nutritious recipes that your kids love, let us know! We’d love to spread the word and give other parents inspiration for fun and nutritious school lunches.