Kids & Parenting

Fast summer lunch ideas for busy kids

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yogurt parfait
Yogurt parfaits with granola and fresh fruit are a great summertime treat for kids!
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Five quick and easy summer lunch ideas to keep busy kids well nourished

Between playing out doors, trips to the pool, summer or day camp sessions, and fun with friends, it can be nearly impossible to slow kids down long enough to serve them a healthy lunch during busy summer days. Regardless, keeping kids well hydrated and well nourished with healthy meals is particularly important during the hot weather and active outdoor summer activities.  

When it comes to preparing summer meals, take advantage of the fresh bounty the season has to offer. Make a point of buying the fruits and vegetables that are in season each month. This will help to add interesting flavors and variety to meals, and will certainly save you money at the grocery store.

Here are some more healthy and simple summer lunch ideas, along with suggestions and recipes that kids are sure to enjoy

Five Quick and Easy Summer Lunch Ideas for Busy Kids

1.   Cold Pasta Salads:
Kids love pasta!  From basic egg noodles, to macaroni, orzo, spinach tortellini, or other fun colorful noodle varieties, pasta is easy to boil and prepare in just minutes. Get creative with your pasta salads and add fresh, stir-fried veggies, some tuna and mayonnaise, grilled chicken strips, or other spices and sauces. Or, for kids who are picky eaters, keep it simple with just a little butter and some grated Parmesan cheese.

2.   Yogurt Parfaits:
Kids need a daily dose of dairy and calcium, and if prepared elegantly, or chilled in the freezer, yogurt parfaits can seem more like an ice cream sundae or summertime treat. One tasty summer lunch idea for a yogurt parfait calls for two cups of vanilla yogurt, or plain yogurt mixed with one teaspoon of vanilla extract and four tablespoons of honey.  

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with fresh berries such as blueberries, cherries, raspberries or strawberries. Next add cup of granola, and a handful of crushed nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, or even macadamia nuts. Stir the ingredients together, and scoop the mixture into an ice cream dish or tall glass. Freeze this tasty treat to serve as a healthy dessert.

3.   Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato, Basil and/or Bacon:
Fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese are hailed as some of the very best summertime flavors. Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of the easiest and most classic kids snacks of all time. Grilled cheese sandwiches are easy to make on the stove, in the toaster oven, or even in a sandwich maker such as a snack master. Avoid breads that are high in calories or carbohydrates.  Instead, try whole wheat or seven-grain breads.  

Nothing beats ripe tomatoes in the summer! If you can, try to find some heirloom varieties of tomatoes at your local farm stand. These varieties, which come in a multitude of colors, have particularly delicious flavors.  

4.   Make Your Own Pizza:
Kids love to get creative and kids love ... pizza!  Combine these two concepts for one of the most wildly successful summer lunch ideas. To save time in the kitchen, purchase the pizza dough ready made from your local bakery or grocer. Or purchase the pre-baked pizza crusts made by Boboli or other brands. Add a layer of pizza sauce or tomato puree. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese, American cheese, cheddar cheese, or other favorite cheese varieties. Add pepperoni slices, and top with an assortment of sliced and diced fresh veggies and herbs such summer squash, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, oregano and cilantro.

5.   Sandwich Wraps:
Get creative with flour tortillas or chapattis or even pita bread to create unique sandwich wraps for kids. Filling the wrap with flavorful ingredients can be left to your own imagination. Some ideas include honey ham, turkey cold cuts, lettuce, shredded carrots, hummus, tahini, bean sprouts, avocado, Swiss cheese, grilled chicken, onion, tomato, re-fried beans, or sour cream. Consider adding global flavor and spices such as Indian curry, Thai, or Mexican. Use fresh herbs, lemon or lime juice to add zest to summer sandwich wraps.

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