If you saw the Today Show this morning you may have caught the segment on school lunches and what your child is really eating. The reporter went through several lunch boxes packed by mom or dad that appeared healthy, but, in fact, some of them had up to 50 grams of sugar! As a reference, it's recommended that kids get no more than 25 grams of sugar per day. Yikes. So, which foods seem nutritious but are really jam-packed with sugar? Some granola bars, yogurt, fruit juice, nut butters and spreads may contain 15-30 grams of sugar per item. That's a lot!
Most kids love fruit. Instead of packing fruit-flavored snacks, pack the whole fruit that is packed with fiber, vitamins, water and other plant-based nutrients, plus a bit of natural sugar. When choosing granola bars look for 6 grams of sugar or less per 100 calories. Or, get the kids in the kitchen with you and have fun making your own granola bars! Here's one we love from Minimalist Baker.
The Cucumber "Sushi" Roll lunch incorporates power-packed foods such as red peppers, avocados, cucumbers, carrots, and hummus followed by SkinnyPop Popcorn mixed with Maple Nut Munch for a fun after lunch treat.
Cucumber Sushi Rolls
You can use any vegetables to roll with the cucumbers! Mix it up week to week. We chose carrots (beta carotene for healthy eyes), peppers (vitamin C for a strong immune system), avocado (healthy fats for brain function), spinach (iron to prevent anemia) and hummus (protein for growth). Plus the cucumbers are packed with water to help kids stay hydrated. As a bonus, sesame seeds are sprinkled on top for a little calcium boost.
- 1 cucumber, peeled then cut into quarters
- 3-4 Tbsp hummus of choice
- 3-4 leaves of spinach
- 1 small carrot, peeled
- 1/4 red pepper, sliced
- 1/4 avocado, sliced
- sesame seeds to garnish
Peel the skin off the cucumber then slice the cucumber into quarters (about 2" in length). With a paring knife, thinly slice the cucumber around (see photo below). Lay the cucumbers flat on a plate. Spread hummus on top as the first layer. Add a spinach leaf to each cucumber. Roll the cucumber, hummus and spinach into a "sushi" roll, leaving space in the center to add sliced avocado, pepper and carrots. Place the rolls in the lunch container and add the sliced peppers, avocado and carrots. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and add some extra hummus on the side for some fun sushi dipping!
Sweet potatoes, cubed, coated with olive oil, salt and pepper then baked at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes (turning after 10 minutes).
This lunch is packed with nutrients! Even the popcorn and munch snack provides fiber and protein, plus plant-powered nutrients from the chocolate that help with focus and concentration.
What's your kids favorite healthy school lunch? We would love ideas that can be shared with others!