Is eating on the run the norm for your family? Busy family schedules often lead to fast foods and convenience foods. Unfortunately, many of these on-the-go food choices may not provide important nutrients children need for good health.
Here are a few ideas to create quick, convenient meals and snacks. Many of these can be assembled in 10 minutes or less.
• Banana and nut butter wrap. Mash a banana and mix with any nut butter (this is a great opportunity to try a different butter ― like almond butter, which is high in vitamin E and protein). Sprinkle with dried fruit or coconut for a different flavor. Spread it on a whole-wheat wrap or flat bread, roll it up, cut it up and bag it.
• Turkey, ham or chicken with hummus or Greek yogurt wrap. Spread some hummus or Greek yogurt on a wrap, add meat slices, any cheese (optional), lettuce or spinach and cucumber slices. Roll it up and bag it. Hummus or Greek yogurt adds a unique flavor, so if your children do not like it, use mustard or a small amount of mayonnaise.
• Pita pocket with curry chicken salad. Take chopped chicken and mix it with a little curry, Greek yogurt, chopped celery and chopped carrots. Put it in a whole-wheat pita pocket with spinach or romaine lettuce.
• Baby carrots, cucumbers chunks, grape tomatoes, hummus, whole-grain crackers and pita chips. Put some hummus in a small container to use as a dip. Bag the carrots, cucumber chunks and grape tomatoes. Also pack some whole-grain crackers or pita chips for energy-packed carbohydrates.
• Low-fat yogurt, cheese, sandwiches. Keep low-fat yogurt, cheese and sandwiches cold by using an ice pack, frozen juice box or frozen milk box.
• Trail mix. Mix almonds, peanuts, dried fruit and whole-grain cereal for a nutrient-dense, energy-packed food and bag it. This is a great “take it anywhere” kind of food.
• Other snacks. Cheese sticks, nuts, frozen yogurt, soy or almond milk, 100-percent juice in boxes, dried fruit, fresh fruit and canned fruit all make great snacks and additions to lunches.