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Healthy and Delicious School Lunch Ideas

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8.29.16 | ABC News Radio

(NEW YORK) — Schools are back in session across the country and that means parents are back in the kitchen preparing daily lunches for their kids.

Lifestyle expert Sandra Lee appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday with recipe ideas for lunch meals that will keep kids excited about eating and well-fueled for a day of learning.

Lee partnered on the recipes with Disney’s Healthy Living Commitment, which helps kids and families make healthy living simple and fun. The recipes shared on GMA get a Mickey Check, a logo on select food items and products in stores, online, and at Disney theme parks and resorts that signifies healthier options that meet Disney’s Nutrition Standards.

Try these recipes for kids' lunches today!

Ham and Cheese Muffins

(Serving size: 6 regular-size muffins or 12 mini-muffins)

1 1/2 cups whole grain pancake mix

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2/3 cup fat-free milk

2 ounces lean ham (reduced sodium), diced

3 tablespoons reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup diced bell pepper

**Variations: Substitute lean turkey. Other vegetables can be substituted for bell pepper, such as shredded zucchini, chopped broccoli, or mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in muffin tins and spray lightly with cooking oil spray. In a mixing bowl, add pancake mix, egg, oil, and milk. Stir just until combined. Add diced ham, 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, and diced bell pepper and mix lightly. Spoon batter into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Bake for 16-18 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts: 1 regular-sized muffin: 210 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 10 g protein. 1 mini-muffin: 100 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars, 5 g protein.

Apple Raisin Muffins


(Serving size: 12 mini-muffins)

1 1/2 cups whole grain pancake mix

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 medium apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

**Variations: Substitute mashed banana for the applesauce, or other dried fruit for the raisins.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in muffin tins and spray lightly with cooking oil spray. In a mixing bowl, add pancake mix, egg, oil, and milk. Stir just until combined. Add diced apple, raisins, and cinnamon, and mix lightly. Spoon batter into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Bake for 16-18 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts: 1 mini-muffin: 110 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugars, 4 g protein Notes: I used Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix.


Hummus and Veggies On-the-Go


(Serves 1)

2 tablespoons hummus

2 tablespoons diced carrots

2 tablespoons diced celery

2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper

1/2 ounce unsalted pretzels

In a mini mason jar, layer the hummus, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to eat, use pretzels to mix the hummus and veggies. Scoop hummus-veggie mix with pretzels to enjoy.

Nutrition Facts: 130 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 4 g protein.

Confetti Ranch and Veggies On-the-Go


(Serves 1)

1 tablespoon ranch dressing

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped red cabbage

3 baby carrots

3 celery sticks

3 red pepper strips

In a mini mason jar, combine the ranch dressing, yogurt, and diced red cabbage. Refrigerate until ready to use. Dip veggie sticks in dressing mix.

Nutrition Facts: 100 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugars, 2 g protein.


Mexican Layer Snack On-the-Go


(Makes 1 snack size serving)

2 tablespoons mild salsa 1/4 cup shredded lettuce 1/2 ounce roasted chicken breast, diced 2 teaspoons black beans, unsalted 2 teaspoons frozen corn kernels 1/2 ounce baked tortilla chips

In a mini-mason jar, layer the salsa, lettuce, chicken, beans, and corn. Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake gently when ready to eat. Use tortilla chips to scoop mixture.

Nutrition Facts: 120 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars, 7 g protein.


Shapes for Lunch


(Makes 1 serving)

2 slices whole wheat bread

1 ounce oven roasted turkey breast slices, reduced sodium

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 leaf lettuce

3/4 cup grapes

1/2 ounce Colby & Monterey jack cheese cubes, reduced sodium

1 medium carrot

Make sandwich with bread, turkey, mustard, and lettuce. Cut into triangles or other fun shape. Cut carrot into rectangle sticks. In a divided plastic container, arrange grape circles, cheese squares, carrot rectangles, and sandwich triangles. Note: For young children, cut grapes in half.

Nutrition Facts: 320 calories, 7 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 660 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 22 g sugars, 17 g protein.


Ham & Cheese Wrap


1 whole-grain flatbread wrap

1 ounce lean ham, reduced sodium

2 teaspoons honey mustard

1/2 ounce shredded Swiss cheese

Shredded lettuce

Place fillings over flatbread and wrap up. Serve cold or grilled.

Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 19 g protein.


Turkey & Avocado Wrap


1 whole-grain flatbread wrap

1 ounce turkey breast, reduced sodium

1/4 avocado, mashed (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons diced tomatoes

Shredded lettuce

Place fillings over flatbread and wrap up. Serve cold or grilled.

Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 7 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 11 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars, 15 g protein.

Banana and Almond Butter Wrap

1 whole-grain flatbread wrap

1 banana

1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter

Cinnamon

Place fillings over flatbread and wrap up. Serve cold or grilled.

Nutrition Facts: 350 calories, 15 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrate, 14 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugars, 15 g protein.


Panko-Crusted Chicken Nuggets


(Serves 2)

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 x 1 inch cubes

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dredge chicken cubes in flour. Dip chicken pieces in beaten egg and then roll in bread crumbs. Place on a greased cooking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Serve with barbeque or honey mustard dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 130 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugars, 19 g protein.


Shark Bait Granola Bars


(Serving size: 24 bars)

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup roasted, salted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup almond butter

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl mix the oats, pepitas and dried cranberries. Set aside. In a smaller bowl stir together the almond butter, agave, and mini chips. Then, using a wooden spoon, stir this into to the oat mixture until everything is evenly combined. Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper. Press the oat mixture into it and flatten the top with a spatula. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours. Then cut with a sharp knife. Keep refrigerated.

Nutrition Facts: 130 calories, 8 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugars, 4 g protein.


Energy Balls


(Serving size: 10 balls)

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup dried shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons almond butter

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey and almond butter and mix well. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll into balls. Store in a closed container lined with wax paper. They will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Nutrition Facts: 100 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 45 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugars, 3 g protein.


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