September is when many children head back to school, and that means packed lunches and after-school snacks are back on the menu! These are great opportunities to get in more fruits and vegetables of all forms for children and adults alike!
We often try to introduce new and unique fruits and vegetables to get children interested in eating more, but there are a lot of ways to reintroduce old favorites.
New Twists on old Favorites for the Lunch Box
- PB&J. Even though jelly has a fruit name and flavor, it contains a lot of added sugar and often not much fruit at all. Instead of jelly, add a whole fruit to your peanut butter sandwich. Bananas are great, but apples and pears work as well.
- Kabobs. Try a new twist on an old concept. Why not enjoy a kabob at lunch? (On Popsicle sticks for safety.)
- Meal Kabobs. Thread lower sodium chicken or turkey chunks, fruit (such as grapes or strawberries), and cheese chunks on a kabob. Serve with whole grain crackers.
- Fruit Kabob. Thread mixed fruits (grapes, berries, melon, etc.) on a kabob. Add a small container of yogurt to the lunch box for easy and delicious dipping!
- Wraps. You can turn wraps into just about anything you want. See below for a turkey wrap recipe.
After School Snack Ideas Using Fruits & Veggies
- Homemade Snack Mix. Keep a stock of your favorite nuts, whole grain cereals, and dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries on hand and let your children mix their own after school.
- Grab & Go Veggies. Keep a container of cleaned and cut vegetables (carrots, broccoli, grape tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers etc.) in your fridge so they’re easy to grab or place them on a tray after school. Be sure to include a dip or two. Hummus or light ranch dressing go great with fresh veggies.
- Get Creative with Apples. Lots of fruits and veggies go great with peanut butter.
- Apple Turtles. Combine 2 apple halves with 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter and add in 5 baby carrots (4 for the legs and 1 for the head) to create a fun turtle shape.
- Apple Smiles. Fill 2 apple half-moons with nut butter and use puffed rice or sliced almonds pressed in as “teeth.”
- A Frozen Treat. Keep a stash of cut up, frozen bananas in the freezer. Serve just as they are or mix them up with some milk and a bit of cocoa powder, peanut butter, or additional frozen fruit of your choice. Blend and enjoy.
- Snack for the Backpack. There are lots of great pre-packaged and canned fruits made just for these occasions. Look for mini boxes of raisins, fruit snack cups, and single serving applesauce. Just be sure to throw in a spoon if necessary!
Turkey Wrap with Hummus & Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Lay out the wraps on your clean work surface.
- Spread 1 tablespoon hummus on each wrap and top each with 2 slices turkey, 1 romaine leaf, 1 tomato slice and cheese slice, making a line of filling down the middle with a little room at the top and bottom.
- Roll up each wrap then wrap with foil, wax paper, or parchment paper.Recipe courtesy of LetsMove.gov
Stephanie Schultz RD, CD
Health & Wellness Director
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