filed under: baking, cooking, green family, green kids, kids health, parenting, recipes, vegetarianism
Some kids are sandwich obsessed and would happily chomp on PB & J every day of the week. Add some variety to their diet by introducing some equally tasty PB & J alternatives. Try swapping the type of bread you use for example – maybe whole wheat one day and then rosemary with flax seeds another. You can also try some variations that won’t rock the boat too much – like adding avocados to a grilled cheese sandwich or making a vegetarian Elvis sandwich. Spread nut butter on one or two pieces of bread. On one piece, add slices of banana. Drizzle with honey and add the other slice. If you’ve got a Panini press, now’s the time to use it! The traditional Elvis sandwich also included slices of bacon, so you can substitute some veggie bacon for adventurous eaters.
Yogurt is a popular lunchtime choice, but it is not usually enough to fuel your tot for the rest of the day. That can be easily remedied by making a yogurt parfait. Choose one of the unsweetened (or less sweetened) options out there, such as So Delicious’s Plain Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt. Then add fresh fruit such as bananas and blueberries. Add a layer of granola on top (and on the bottom if you like), preferably one made with nuts. My favorite homemade granola version (from Vegan Soul Kitchen) uses coconut oil and almonds, which both contain healthy fats to keep your child’s hunger satisfied.
Vegetable sushi is available at most grocery stores now, but you can personalize it with your child’s favorite veggies at home (and it’s also a lot less expensive than store-bought versions). Making hand rolls is especially easy. Another fun option is inari, which is simply a soybean wrapper stuffed with rice. For those mornings when assembling and rolling sushi is not happening, have the makings of a deconstructed sushi bowl on hand. The night before: prepare some rice and toss with a minimal amount of sesame oil or brown rice vinegar to keep rice from sticking and clumping together. Cube some seasoned tofu, and thinly slice carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, and any other veggies your child will chomp on. Throw it all in a container and drizzle some teriyaki sauce on top along with strips of nori.
Sometimes we find ourselves without a lunch centerpiece, or what we call an “Odds and Ends Lunch.” On those days, declare your child’s lunch tapas-style. Kids love finger foods and being able to pick and choose, so give them a little sampling of some delectable treats. Try containers of chopped olives, hummus, cucumber and carrot spears, sun-dried or regular chopped tomatoes, and a dinner roll, pita chips, or part of a baguette. Kids will get a kick out of assembling their own foods, and they also can nibble some of the offerings as a snack if they can’t wait until lunchtime!
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