5 days of healthy lunches your kids will actually eat

Whether your kids have been back in school for weeks or are just now heading back to class, you're probably already racking your brain for lunch options beyond your standard sandwich. We've found a week's worth of recipes your kids will happily eat that are actually pretty healthy. There are even a few gluten free and nut-free options for students or classes with special dietary restrictions.

Food Network

Take-to-School Taco Bar
from Food Network Kitchen

4 thin slices roast beef (about 3 ounces)
4 soft flour tortillas (6-inch)
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar, Monterey jack or "Mexican blend" cheese
1/4 cup Quickie Guacamole, recipe follows, or store-bought fresh guacamole
1/4 cup Speedy Salsa, recipe follows, or store-bought fresh salsa
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt, optional
Mini bottle hot sauce
Multi-compartment lunch box

Fold 1 slice roast beef inside each of 2 soft tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Pack in the biggest compartment of the lunch box. Pack other compartments with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and other favorite toppings. Seal and send off to school.

Speedy Salsa:
2 ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), halved
1/4 small red onion or white, halved
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh mint leaves, optional

Grate tomatoes on the largest holes of a box grater into a bowl all the way down to the skins. Discard the skins. Grate the onion into the tomato. Stir in olive oil. Season with salt, to taste. Serve with cilantro leaves on the side, or stirred in, if desired.

Quickie Guacamole:
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved and seeded
1 lime, halved
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup diced tomatoes, mango, or quartered seedless grapes, optional

Scoop the flesh from the shell with a spoon into a medium bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and stir to coat evenly. Add the salt. Use a fork to stir and mash into a chunky guacamole. Stir in tomatoes or fruit, if desired.


Grilled Hot Dog Skewers with Creamy Avocado Dip
from FamilyFreshCooking.com

1 package hot dogs of your choice (try chicken or turkey dogs as an alternative ton beef or pork)
1 or more avocados
Fresh lemon juice (to drizzle over avocado so they do not turn brown)
Blue and/or yellow corn tortillas, trimmed into small squares
1/2 cup fat free sour cream or thick greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed
1 tablespoon capers
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of garlic salt
Pinch of smoked paprika
Small 6 inch skewers.

Grill your hot dogs according to package directions. Let them cool a bit and cut into chunky pieces. Alternate pieces of hot dogs, diced avocado and corn tortilla squares. Slide on some cilantro leaves as a garnish.

Avocado Cilantro Dip:
Combine sour cream or greek yogurt, one avocado, cilantro, capers, pepper, garlic salt, and smoked paprika in a blender or food processor. Season to taste.

Food Network Magazine

Cold Peanut Soba Noodles With Chicken
from Food Network Magazine

12 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (such as Sriracha or sambal oelek)
Kosher salt
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped scallions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and edamame and cook as the noodle label directs. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the noodles and edamame and run under cold water until cool.

Whisk the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and chili sauce in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and whisk until smooth. Add the noodles and edamame, season with salt and toss to combine (add more cooking water to loosen, if needed). Divide among shallow bowls and top with the chicken, cucumber and scallions.

Good Housekeeping

Turkey Meatball Pitas with Cucumber Sauce
from Good Housekeeping

1 pound ground turkey
2 slices low-fat bread, chopped
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 whole-wheat pitas (6-inch)
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 containers nonfat plain yogurt (8-ounce)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (substitute 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves)
4 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray 15 1/2-inch by 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, with hand, mix ground turkey, bread, onion, egg white, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons water. Shape turkey mixture into 25 meatballs. (For easier shaping, use wet hands.) Place meatballs in jelly-roll pan and bake 12 to 15 minutes until cooked through (meatballs will not brown).

Cut about 1 inch from top of each pita; reserve cutoff pieces for use another day. Wrap pitas in foil. After meatballs have baked 5 minutes, warm pitas in oven until meatballs are done.

Cucumber Sauce:
Mix cucumber, yogurt, cilantro or mint, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

To serve, fill pitas with lettuce and meatballs; top with cucumber sauce.

The Elvis Burrito
from bon appetit

Peanut butter (try experimenting with alternative nut or seed butters)
Whole wheat tortilla
Bacon, crumbled
1 banana

Spread peanut butter on a toasted whole-wheat wrap, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon and drizzle with honey. Place a whole banana at the edge of the wrap, then roll, pressing gently to break the banana and form a cylinder shape. Or, slice the banana, scatter, and roll.

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