DIY Summer Lunch and Snacks for Kids

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School is ending for the year and kids everywhere are excited to start their summers. Whatever the kids are doing, make sure they eat healthy lunches this summer.

For kids who will be staying home alone or with siblings, will they need to make their own lunches? If so, be sure to stock kitchens with healthy choices. And decide what the kids can safely use unsupervised, such as heat sources or kitchen equipment, like knives.

If the kids cannot use hot equipment or knives, they can still make some of their lunch on their own.

  • Wash strawberries and baby carrots
  • Spread PB&J on bread
  • Spoon yogurt into a bowl

              PB&J

If kids can use a heat source and other equipment, try these lunch options.

  • Scramble eggs for an omelet
  • Grill up a hot ham and cheese sandwich
  • Boil pasta and mix in tomato sauce
  • Reheat leftovers until steaming hot (safety note:  lift lids away from your face and hands)

             Soup

Kids in day camps will likely get lunch as part of their time there. But will they get snacks? Let the kids bring along nonperishable snacks (meaning, nothing that needs to be refrigerated) in case they get hungry. Choose snacks that are low in added sugars, high in fiber, and have a moderate amount of fat.

And be sure to check: will the kids have access to water to drink? Water is the best choice for kids, especially in the heat of summer. Encourage them to drink up!

Snack Ideas

  • Popcorn Trail Mix: 1 cup air-popped popcorn, 1 Tbsp dried fruit (try dried cherries), and 1 Tbsp nuts (try pistachios)
  • Nutty Sandwich: 1 mini whole-grain bagel and 1 Tbsp nut butter (try almond butter)
  • Sticks and Dip: 5 vegetable sticks (try bell pepper slices) and 1 individual pre-packaged Ranch dressing cup
  • "Chewy Granola Bar" - try this recipe

             Popcorn

 

Recipe Corner

Herbed Turkey Wraps (serves 4)

This wrap is easy to assemble and ingredients can easily be swapped to meet your kids likes and dislikes.

2 ounces fat-free cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, and garlic powder
4 6-inch whole wheat tortillas
4 ounces sliced deli turkey
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded lettuce, washed and dried

1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, basil, oregano, and garlic powder until smooth. Spread cheese mixture evenly over tortillas. Top with turkey, carrot, and lettuce. Roll up tightly. Serve!

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs (serves 1)

This fun finger-food is kid-approved. Let kids play with their food and make shapes!

3 pretzel sticks
3 cheese cubes (any flavor)
6 cut pieces of fruit (try strawberries or melon)

1. Stick cheese and fruit onto pretzel sticks in any pattern. Eat!

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.