A Pediatrician's Healthier Kid-Friendly Recipes for Back-to-School Lunches
Did you know that schools consider French fries and ketchup as vegetable servings in their cafeteria served lunches?! In just a few minutes in the evenings, you can prepare a more nutritious lunch for your kiddos.
You can prepare these meals even if you’re not sending your child off to school yet. Go ahead and get in the routine of lunch prep at night, and they can eat their “school lunch” during the noon break from virtual school. In fact, prepping lunch and snacks will limit the constant grazing we might have gotten into the bad habit of over the lockdown and summer.
Here are my healthy takes on kid-friendly favorites.
Kids Meal Prep Ideas for school lunches:
1.“Pizza Lunchables”: 1 or 2 Wheat English muffin halves, with side of low salt pizza sauce (make your own real quick with low or no salt tomato sauce seasoned with pepper and oregano), shredded mozzarella, and turkey pepperonis. Side Veggie: sliced bell peppers. Side Fruit: fresh mandarin orange
2.“Lunchables”: Handful (approx. 12) of wheat or veggie crackers, 3 slices of low salt, no preservative deli turkey or ham cut in quarters, 3 slices of low fat cheese cut in quarters. Side Veggie: celery sticks with hummus or ranch dip. Side Fruit: No sugar added fruit cup
3.Roll Ups: Corn or wheat tortilla with sliced cheese or spreadable cheese (such as laughing cow) and low salt no preservative deli meat. Can add spinach and/or smashed avocado as well. Slice in 6 equal pieces to have cute pinwheels. Side Veggie: carrots and dip. Side Fruit: grapes
Recipe: 1 cup Bisquick
- 1 lb cooked turkey sausage or ground turkey
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- *Optional: 1 cup chopped veggies such as peppers and mushrooms
- Mix all ingredients and split between 12 servings in a muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20mins
- Side Veggie: cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes. Side Fruit: berries
5. Pasta salad: Cooked whole wheat or veggie pasta with chopped grilled chicken and vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, and spinach. Add a little dressing to the pasta salad such as pesto or Italian dressing. Side Fruit: apple slices.
6. Quesadillas: Corn or wheat tortillas with bean & cheese or chicken & cheese. Side Veggie: broccoli and dip. Side Fruit: mango or peach slices
- Recipe: Cut 1 lb chicken breasts into strips or large chunks.
- Coat in flour mixture: 1 cup or more whole wheat or oat flour mixed with ¼ cup ground flax seeds, ½ tsp salt & pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp paprika. Now dredge coated chicken in beaten eggs, and then again coat with flour mixture.
- Bake or air fry until cooked through. (Double recipe to make for dinner, then to have leftovers for next day’s lunches.)
- Side Veggie: veggie chips or sticks. Side Fruit: fruit & veggie squeeze pouch
- Recipe: 1 lb ground beef or turkey
- ½ can pureed pumpkin
- 2 slices wheat bread, torn apart in small pieces
- ¼ cup flax seeds
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp low sugar ketchup
- Mix all ingredient until well combined. Make 1-2 inch balls and place on greased sheet pan. Bake 15-20mins at 350 degrees until cooked through. Can serve with ketchup or bbq sauce. (Double recipe to make for dinner, then have leftovers for lunch next day.)
- Side Veggie: Cauliflower and hummus or ranch. Side Fruit: pineapple
- Extra additions to above lunch ideas, 1 per day: small individual cookie packs, all natural fruit twists (actual fruit instead of packs of fruit snacks), granola bar, fruit & nut bar such as LaraBar, ¼ cup trail mix, ½ cup honey wheat pretzels.
- No juice, soda or sports drinks; instead have water or 2% milk.
I hope you enjoy!
Get to know Michelle Bailey, M.D.
I’m a board-certified pediatrician, passionate about ensuring the well-being of patients ranging from newborn through late teens.
I attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!), and completed my pediatric residency in Houston.
Since the completion of residency I’ve worked in outpatient clinics and enjoy not only caring for my young patients, but becoming a part of every family by building long-lasting, trusting relationships. While I treat common and not-so-common childhood infections and diseases, I especially have a passion for asthma and allergies, nutrition, and ADHD along with other learning disorders.
I’m married and we have a rescue dog named Jack. When not at work, I enjoy attending cultural events and traveling. To make an appointment with Dr. Bailey, click here or call 682-303-1000.