When you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning, packing a healthy school lunch can be a tall task. You’re lucky if you’re awake enough to slap some peanut butter on a slice of bread, let alone whip up a balanced meal that you look forward to eating later in the day.
To help, I’ve put together some ideas for meals that require little prep but keep your energy levels up all the way through afternoon classes. Make sure you include a protein, a starch, a fruit or vegetable side and a snack. That way, you won’t get hungry later and set yourself up for a poor practice or workout. You can also mix it up with some vegetarian dishes that include protein.
1. Pinwheel wraps. Spread peanut butter and jelly, hummus and veggies, or cream cheese and cucumber on a wrap, then roll it up and cut it into wheels. Or try turkey and cheese as a filling. A sprinkle of trail mix, raw carrots or (in the case of peanut butter) chocolate-covered raisins livens things up.
2. English muffin pizzas, Greek yogurt, cucumber tomato salad and popcorn. Make a batch of English muffin pizzas beforehand and freeze them, then pop one or two out and put them in a microwaveable container for school. Also, you can freeze the yogurt, so it’s not warmed over by lunchtime.
3. Pasta salad with veggies, cheese stick, low-sugar applesauce and graham crackers.
4. Tuna or salmon salad with crackers, roasted vegetables with hummus and a pudding snack.
5. BBQ chicken salad with sunflower seeds, apples and cinnamon, and whole-wheat pretzels.
6. Beans and rice with a hard-boiled egg, banana and nut butter.
7. Veggie quiche with fruit salad and yogurt-covered blueberries.