Children are picky eaters. Especially when they are all by themselves at school and missing home. I try and make up for it, by packing lunch for both my kids with healthy, definitely not boring, yet comforting options. The key is to create an interesting version of the same old dish, and the food will disappear in no time.
I have two kids and they have completely different appetites and favorites. So I ensure both their palates and appetites are adhered to with the right mix of nutrients and vitamins. Lunch usually contains the main dish, salad, and a healthy drink. Here is a list of fun combinations for lunch and snack-time, which is quick to make and super healthy for your preschooler.
PB&J Apple Sandwich
Classic Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich could be made interesting and healthier by replacing bread with apple slices. Cut thin slices of the apple and apply a generous amount of peanut butter and jelly inside. You can innovate by adding different jams or spreads according to the taste buds of your children.
The day I make pizza at home, my kids have a gala time. I can’t stop them from gorging on to their favorite dish, but I can definitely tweak the recipe for a healthier version. When I came across zucchini pizzas, I couldn’t resist but try it for my children as they hate the vegetable. For preparation, cut the zucchini into ¼ inch thick slices.
Spray them with olive oil, salt, pepper and grill them. Now apply marinara sauce on top with the toppings of your choice and top it with shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and then microwave it, till the cheese melts.
Home-made Frozen Yoghurt
According to What To Expect, “While no one wants their picky eater to turn into a dessert hound, there’s plenty of evidence to show that banishing the sweet stuff backfires: When foods like these are forbidden, kids tend to crave them more (and binge on them whenever they get a chance).” So instead of saying no to your child, go an extra mile and make fun sweet treats.
For starters, try this simple recipe of making home-made frozen yogurt and add seasonal fruits to the mixture. Give it a fun shape or make a yogurt pop for a fun snack-time.
Fruit and Cereal Pops
Talking of pops, one can come up with so many fun and interesting options best suitable for your picky eater. Apart from the well-known yogurt pops and fruit smoothie pops, try the banana chocolate and cereal pops. It can be had as an on-the-go breakfast or a filling lunch option.
Cut finger size banana pieces and insert Popsicle sticks in them. Coat it with chocolate and roll it into granola or cereals. Try experimenting with other fruits like strawberries, kiwis or pineapple.
Hummus with Vegetable Sticks
Here is a spin-off, of the classic chips and dip with the healthy vegetable sticks and hummus. Make a fresh batch of hummus and serve it with thin strips of vegetables like bell peppers, carrots or sweet potatoes. The vegetables with its crunchy texture dipped in a flavorful hummus dip can do the trick of filling your little one’s tummy without a fuss.
This oven-baked crunchy snack could be a replacement to candy or other sweet treats that your child craves. The procedure to make this simple and easy snack is to boil and drain chickpeas. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Mix it with cinnamon, sugar and spread them on a baking tray layered with parchment paper. Bake the chickpeas for about 30-40 minutes, tossing them around in order to not burn them.
Let it cool before you can snack on them or store them for later. With a house smelling of chickpeas and cinnamon, the kids are surely going to finish it before you know it.
Wrap it up
Wraps are the biggest saving grace, as they are healthy, packed with proteins, vegetables and flavors. Choose whole wheat wraps for the meat and vegetable stuffing. Add a sauce best suited for the stuffing combination and lunch is ready! You can choose a wrap instead of a sandwich and make the meal healthier for your child.
Ham & Cheese
A combination that kids adore can be kept simple and non-greasy by making ham & cheese roll-ups. The recipe is a no-cook, easy snack to make for your preschooler. All you need is ham, cheese, and a few toothpicks to hold the roll-ups. Wrap the cheese cube with ham and secure it with a toothpick. Serve it with tomato sauce or any other dip. The idea is to create something easy and fun yet pleasing on your kids’ eyes to make it palatable.
Hence, the next time your kid comes home hungry after school or your packing lunch for them, keep these quick and nutritious snack ideas handy.