Back to School Lunches

By Megan Hamilton, Texas A&M Nutrition Sciences Intern
Reviewed by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD, Community Outreach Director, CHEF
Edited by Andi Champion, Program Coordinator, CHEF

Summer is winding down and school is almost back in session! Help your children thrive this school year and get them excited about healthy eating habits by providing them with fun, tasty, new lunch ideas. Our better-for-you inspiration is sure to get you an A+ in the lunchroom!

Turkey and Cheese Roll-up:

Take two pieces of turkey lunch meat and a slice of cheddar cheese and place them on a whole-wheat tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and you’re done! Add a side of yogurt & fruit or hummus & veggies for a simple, yet filling meal.

Avocado Chicken Salad:

Place 1 cup of finely chopped chicken, 1 ripe avocado, 1 apple peeled and finely chopped, ¼ cup of finely chopped celery, and ¼ cup of finely chopped red onion into one bowl. Mix the ingredients with a fork. Then add 2 tbsp of finely chopped cilantro or parsley, 2 tsp of lime juice, ½ tsp of table salt, a pinch of ground pepper, 2 tsp of olive oil, and mix. This healthy spin on the classic chicken salad can be enjoyed on whole-wheat bread or tortilla, in lettuce cups, or even by itself!

Vegetable Cheese Pasta Salad:

Boil ½ cup of whole-wheat bowtie or other small shaped pasta. Add the cooked pasta to a bowl with 1/3 cup of diced red bell pepper, 1/3 cup of diced steamed green beans, 1/3 cup of diced feta cheese, and mix. In another bowl, combine 1/3 cup of low- fat plain yogurt, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette, and a pinch of salt. Blend the dressing well, add to the pasta bowl, and keep chilled. This plant-based protein dish will keep your child fueled and focused!

For side dishes, skip the chips! Instead, paint your child’s plate with colorful produce such as apples, strawberries, bananas, kiwis, carrots, and celery. Make sure they stay hydrated by ditching sugary beverages and sticking to plain water.