Making protein-packed kids’ lunches might sound like some sort of secret-agent mission, but it’s not as complicated as all that. Protein is part of a healthy, well-rounded midday meal that can help keep your kids fueled for a day of learning, playing, and focusing at school. So, you know you should pack protein, but how can you get your kids to eat it? That’s a whole different story and one that has several options. Pull out your napkins, because lunch is served:
The Sandwich Superhero — Sandwiches are perfect for protein-packed lunches! You can fill them with a myriad of ingredients. Ham, roast beef, turkey, and sliced chicken are all great sources of protein. Add some cheese to double up on the protein power, or use bacon, lettuce, and tomato for that diner favorite, a BLT!
The Meat Maven — Don’t let the ever-popular sandwich put artificial constraints on your lunchtime prowess. Slice salami into chunks, layer prosciutto with tomato slices, or use cookie cutters to slice turkey into adorable shapes. Kids can eat them with forks or fingers, and it’s easier to trade lunch bites that way, too (c’mon . . . we all did it at that age!).
The Eggcellent Egg — Don’t leave eggs to breakfast alone. Share the love! Send hard-boiled eggs with packets of salt and pepper, make egg salad into lunches or wraps, or send slices of quiche with your kids’ favorite mix-ins.
Go Nuts for Nuts — Hit up the bulk bins for protein-hearty snacks. Make sure you go for unsalted nuts to keep the daily sodium count under control, maybe mix in a few chocolate pieces, and make this snack a part of a delicious lunch. Make sure nuts are allowed in your kids’ school or just serve these at home. It’s important to be conscientious of nut allergies.
You’re So Cheesy — Let your kids go crazy for the good stuff! Pieces of cheese, cheese sandwiches, and cheesy frittatas are all great ways to get protein in your kids’ lunches. There are so many varieties, you will likely be able to find at least one (or many!) that your kids like. Just be sure to include a cold pack in the lunchbox so the cheese stays cold.