September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month so today we wanted to address the other component involved in fighting childhood obesity – healthy eating! (In case you missed our blog on incorporating more exercise into your children’s lives, find it here.) If you’ve ever gotten in the rut of only sending peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with your kids everyday for lunch, then you’ve come to the right place! Below are five fun and healthy sandwich alternatives that you can pack in a lunch or just eat at home:
Berry Smoothie (recipe adapted from here)
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup juice
1 handful of spinach
Combine in a blender and serve in a tightly-sealed thermos if you’re packing in a lunch.
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich (recipe adapted from here)
1 Tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese
¼ teaspoon honey
2 slices thin whole-what sandwich bread
2 medium strawberries, sliced
Combine cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Spread bread with the cheese mixture. Place sliced strawberries on 1 piece of bread, top with the other.
Pizza Roll Ups (recipe adapted from here)
1 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla
2 Tablespoons pizza sauce
12 leaves baby spinach
3 Tablespoon shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Spread pizza sauce over the tortilla. Top with the spinach and sprinkle cheese on top. Microwave until the cheese is just melted, usually 45 seconds. Roll the tortilla up and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces.
Pumpkin Muffins (recipe adapted from here)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together whole wheat flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center and add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce and oil. Mix until the dry ingredients are combined. Fill muffin tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool in the pan and then remove.
Healthy Mac & Cheese (recipe adapted from here)
2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
⅔ cup shredded cheese
Cook the macaroni and drain. Remove the skin and the seeds from the squash and cut the flesh into small cubes. Bring the broth to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup broth, and transfer squash to the blender. Add the milk, salt, and reserved broth and puree until completely smooth and creamy. This should make about 4 cups of sauce. Pour the pureed sauce over the cooked noodles and add the shredded cheese. Stir to melt the cheese; add water or milk to adjust consistency as needed.
What’s your favorite healthy lunch idea for your kids?
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