School is back in session and it’s easy to transform humdrum brown bag lunches into healthy treats kids will enjoy.
Prevent lunch boredom by adding a variety of fresh produce and complex carbohydrates into lunches — including vegetables, whole fruit and whole grain snacks.
Phytochemicals, naturally occurring plant compounds, act like “superheroes” with their protective and disease preventive properties.
Include eats that contain healthy fats, such as tuna and avocado, before sending your youngsters out the door. The much-needed healthy fats power the mental and physical performance of growing kids.
Start the school year off on a good foot by tossing together one of these nutritious lunches recommended by Katie Rankell, a registered dietitian and program director for the UC Irvine Health Weight Management Program.
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Veggies and homemade hummus
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 tablespoons tahini
Combine all spices, chickpeas, tomatoes and tahini into a blender or food processor. Blend to desired consistency.
Per ½ cup serving
- 74 calories
- 3 g protein
- Less than 1g fat
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 14 g carbohydrates
- 3 g dietary fiber
- 180 mg sodium
Whole wheat wraps
- 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (low sodium or no salt added)
- 1/2 small onion, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 small avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup mango, diced
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Dash of pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and bell peppers for 5 minutes. Add beans, chili powder, pepper and cumin. Mix well and sauté for 5 to 10 more minutes.
In a small mixing bowl, combine avocado, lime juice, mango and cilantro.
Warm tortilla and fill with bean mixture. Fold stuffed tortilla into a wrap and top with mango-avocado mixture.
Optional: Garnish with nonfat or low-fat sour cream.
- 398 calories
- 11 g fat (no cholesterol or trans fat, and packed with heart healthy monounsaturated fat)
- 59 g carbohydrates
- 14 g dietary fiber (64 percent of a 2,000 calorie diet)
- 460 mg sodium