Delicious School Lunch Ideas

Written by Lisa Fuhrman for the September 2006 edition of Healthy Times:
Pack these healthful and tasty natural entrees in your child’s lunch box, and you will be giving them a priceless gift.

Roll-ups and vegetable wraps

Take a whole grain flat bread or tortilla and spread a favorite Fuhrman-style dressing or sauce over half of the round roll-up. Then add a thin layer of chopped or shredded raw veggies such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion, red cabbage, and cucumber.

Bananas

Bananas are a school lunch dream. They can be served straight, right in their own protective and fun packaging. They can be sliced or mashed onto whole-grain bread, with nut butter, apple butter, or a prune whip. Try it with raw almond butter or raw cashew butter, as they are more nutritious and healthful than roasted peanut butter. It’s even better if you add some shredded romaine lettuce to the banana-nut sandwich.

Rice-bean burgers
Healthful burgers on whole wheat buns are always accepted as a school lunch, and no other kid can tell it’s not a meat burger. Try a simple burger made with ingredients such as oats, brown rice, lentils, red onions, chopped nuts, nutritional yeast, and egg white, and some ketchup or other spices. There are hundreds of ways to make a great veggie burger.

Fresh Fruit

Few people think of fresh fruit as a main dish for children’s lunches, but fruit can be the centerpiece of the lunch. Children love bags of grapes, cherries, or strawberries. My kids even like shredded raw apple, mixed with raisins, shredded carrots, and shredded lettuce. A little sauce made with raw cashews, orange juice, lemon, and maybe some blood orange vinegar is a hit with the kids.

Nuts and seeds

Throw in a small bag of raw nuts or sunflower seeds. Ask your child if they want some extra to share with friends. My kids’ favorite is macadamia nuts, which I buy in the shell. They taste incredibly fresh and sweet when you crack them yourself, compared to the ones already shelled. I put them in a heavy clear plastic bag and lay them out flat on the floor of the garage or driveway and then hit each nut firmly with a hammer through the bag. Then, after emptying the mix of broken shells and nuts into a plate, I separate out the nuts, discarding the shells. My children love to help pick out (and eat as they go!) the nuts. It gives them something productive to do and helps make lunchtime a pleasure instead of a stressor.

Dried fruits
Dried black figs, hard bread dates, some unsweetened dried papaya or dried persimmon—what kid doesn’t love these natural candies? Make sure your children floss and brush their teeth when they come home from school. Dried fruits can stick between teeth, causing cavities. Dried fruits also can be soaked overnight in juice or nut milks and then used like jam on the side of sandwich or pita with some nut butter. Make sure the dried fruits you get are unfumigated, unsulfured and unsweetened.
Check out Jaffe Brothers Natural Foods for quality dried fruits and nuts.
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