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Healthy Lunch Recipes for Kids – Food for the Brain – Part 2

by Jeanette on August 14, 2012 · 14 Comments
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Today is Part 2 in a series of three posts featuring recipes that contain brain-boosting ingredients. In Part 1, we presented a round-up of healthy breakfast recipes for kids. Today, we present Part 2, which  focuses on healthy lunch recipes for kids.  Our last post in this series will feature healthy snack recipes for kids.

Chicken Tomato Avocado Quesadilla via Jeanette's Healthy Living

Chicken Tomato Avocado Quesadilla with Kale Pesto

Where has the summer gone? Although the summer always seems to start out slow, as soon as July is over, time just seems to fly and before you know it, the slow, lazy days of summer are gone, all too quickly. Mentally, I’m starting to prepare myself for more scheduled days, getting up early and making my kids a healthy breakfast, packing lunches and planning dinners to fit into everyone’s busy fall schedules.

Kids have such long days – they get up early and need to be able to concentrate from their first class to the last, before heading off to after school activities and hunkering down to do their homework. In between all their activities and homework, they need to eat and nourish their brains and their bodies.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure each and every meal they eat counts. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, there are certain foods that are especially good for the brain because they contain nutrients that help improve and maintain focus, and improve brain health.

That’s why I decided to put together this series called Food for the Brain. If you missed our roundup of Breakfast Foods for the Brain, please be sure to check it out.

Although breakfast may be the most important meal of the day to kick the day off, it’s just as important to pack a brain-boosting lunch. Fueling your child with brain-boosting foods throughout the day can make the difference between them staying focused from the minute they start their school day until they get their homework done, or not.

Thanks to my blogging friends for sharing these healthy brain-boosting lunch recipes and ideas to help keep our kids’ brains and bodies fueled throughout the day.

BRAIN-BOOSTING LUNCH IDEAS

The key to keeping your kids’ brains at peak level into the afternoon is by packing them a brain-boosting lunch. Refer back to our list of Brain-Boosting Foods when putting your child’s lunch together. Try to include a protein, some fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains each day. How about a tuna or salmon salad sandwich, or a chicken or turkey sandwich with some baby spinach or romaine lettuce tucked in. All you need is a small container of berries to round out their lunch.

I love sneaking in some healthy leafy greens by spreading some Kale Pesto on sandwiches (your kids will never know there’s kale in this). This Chicken Tomato and Avocado Quesadilla is an example where I snuck in some leafy green vegetables in the form of Kale Pesto at lunchtime. These quesadillas are made with corn tortillas, a spread of Kale Pesto, and a layer of grilled chicken, tomato, avocado and a slice of cheese.

Chicken Tomato Avocado Quesadilla via Jeanette's Healthy Living

Chicken Tomato Avocado Quesadilla with Kale Pesto

Make lunchtime even more fun by cutting sandwiches into cute shapes or serving them in a bento box.

How cute is this Hearts Hands Lunchbox by Bentoriffic – packed with a rainbow assortment of fruits and vegetables, and these cute cut-out sandwiches made with whole grain bread, nut butter and jelly.

Healthy Hearts Hands Lunch Box from Bentoriffic

Healthy  Hearts Hands Lunch Box from Bentoriffic

Here’s another brain-boosting lunchbox idea, this one from Green Lite Bites. Walnuts, eggs, whole grain bread, canteloupe and red bell peppers make this meal complete.

Healthy Lunch Box by Green Lite Bites

Healthy Lunch Box from Green Lite Bites

If you’re looking for a meatless option, these Butternut Squash & Chickpea Patties with Grape-Avocado Salad served in whole grain pita bread (or whole grain tortilla wrap) by Cara’s Cravings would be perfect.

Butternut Squash & Chickpea Patties with Grape Avocado Salsa by Cara's Cravings

Butternut Squash & Chickpea Patties with Grape Avocado Salsa by Cara’s Cravings

Get adventurous with sandwiches and try these Spinach Pancakes (gluten-free) in place of bread by Spabettie. Just spread them with Hummus and layer on some tomatoes and baby spinach or baby kale.

Spinach Pancakes by Spabettie

If you have a child who’s gluten-free and doesn’t like feeling left out when chicken tenders are on the lunch menu, pack some of these Baked Gluten-Free Chicken Strips from With Style & Grace in their lunchbox, along with some fresh fruit and vegetables.

Baked Gluten-Free Chicken Strips from With Style & Grace

Think out-of-the-box for lunch for more ideas. These mini Baked Eggs & Veggies To Go from Inspired Edibles aren’t just for breakfast – think of these as little frittatas packed with protein and nutrients.

Baked Eggs & Veggies To Go from Inspired Edibles

Baked Eggs & Veggies To Go from Inspired Edibles

For more brain-boosting lunch ideas, check out Healthy Baby Bean’s Creative Ideas for School Lunch – Get out of the PB & J Rut post, which includes lots of suggestions for different sandwich bases, fun spreadables, and toppings or “sprinkles”.

Marla of Family Fresh Cooking has a series called Project Lunchbox with lots of fun ideas, and even started a Lunch Box Pinterest Board.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration from all of these lunch ideas – just remember to pack as many brain-boosting foods in your children’s sandwiches and lunch boxes to help ensure they stay focused and energetic throughout their busy school day.

And if you missed our roundup of Healthy Brain-Boosting Breakfast Recipes, be sure to check it out.

Sources:
Kid’s Brain Foods, Prevention
Foods That Boost Brain Power, Eating Well
Foods That Boost Brainpower, Prevention
Eat for a Sharper Mind: 5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Eating Well
Brain-Boosting Food for Kids, What To Expect
Folic Acid, University of Maryland Medical Center
Health Benefits of DHA, NCBI
Nourishing Your Noggin, MedicineNet
Iron in brain function and dysfunction with emphasis on Parkinson’s disease, NCBI
10 Foods To Help Boost Your Brain Power, CNN
An Apple or Two a Day Can Save Your Brain – The Buffalo News


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Comments

  1. Love all the nutritious and delicious recipes you’ve assembled for this round Jeanette! They are not only healthy; they’re gorgeous! (I’ll be stealing these ideas for the adults too ;)).

  2. Awesome roundup – thanks for the link!

  3. Thanks Kelly – these are definitely just as good (and fun) for adults.

  4. thank you for including me, Jeanette! this is a great collection, everything sounds good to me!

  5. Another gorgeous round-up, full of wonderful ideas! Love the bento box lunches, they are so cute!

    • Thanks Kristina and Faith! Wish my lunch was this fun when I was a kid. The bento boxes are a lot of fun aren’t they!

  6. Great ideas! I’d love to have that Chicken Tomato Avocado Quesadilla right no!

  7. EA – my son loved those Chicken Tomato Avocado Quesadillas, and I loved the Kale Pesto that he was eating along with it ;)

  8. Some really good snack ideas, thanks for sharing them. I like the nice and simple, brain boosting, greenlitebites lunch the best.

  9. Everything looks so delicious and fresh. I love the idea of spinach pancakes!

  10. Gosh they all look so good Jeanette. Lovin the round ups. It’s like you’re doing all the work of finding delicious recipes for me!

  11. Your Lunch ideas are not just healthy, they really look also great. Kids will definitely love this. Thanks for the ideas!

  12. I Pinned this a while back and refer to it often! All big hits so far thx!

  13. Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting
    a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.

    You have done a extraordinary job!

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