It’s back to school time! And while I don’t have kids, I sure do remember throwing away more than my fair share of carrot sticks from the brown bag lunches that my hardworking mom lovingly prepared for me every day. (Sorry, Mom!)
But let’s face it: Carrot sticks are boring. Even more boring? Carrot sticks every day. So I say it’s time to freshen things up with lunchbox vegetables that your kids will actually eat. (And this goes for the kids-at-heart, too: I’m talking to you, grad students and working adults!)
So here’s a week worth of veggie treats to keep your little ones (and you) powered up with great nutrition. I say treats because these are the top 5 veggies that disappear from our fridge faster than I can make them—and when it comes to vegetables, that’s saying a lot!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a kid who wasn’t crazy for guacamole. So why not pair it with an authentically Mexican dipper like sweet and crunchy jicama chips? Seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, they’re a surprisingly delicious replacement for corn chips. Better yet, a handful of jicama chips will give your kids will get a healthy dose of prebiotic fiber (no, that’s not a typo) to feed the good bacteria in their tummies.
Great for peanut-free school zones, you can sneak a whole salad into a couple of summer rolls and your kids will be none the wiser. Better still, you can make these rolls (and the dipping sauce) the night before to keep your morning schedule humming along. If you forget? You can roll one of these puppies up in 30 seconds flat and sub a schmear of cashew butter and a little agave inside the roll for built-in dipping sauce. Click here for the recipe and easy step-by-step directions.
My dipping sauce recipe contains a little added sugar and salt (I plan to fix that at some point), but it’s a small price to pay for veggies your kids will love! (Sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce to keep the dipping sauce gluten- and soy-free.)
This sounds like a mature flavor palate, but I’m telling you, your kids will love it! (As much as kids can love kale as opposed to, say, cupcakes.) The combination of juicy mangoes, nutrient-packed kale, and fresh, sweet ginger dressing is simply scrumptious.
Sugar snap peas are sweet, crunchy, and sport more protein than the average veggie, which is a nice nutritional boost! They’re delicious paired with sweet ginger dip (just make sweet ginger dressing with ½ cup of pineapple juice instead of ¾ cup).
Note: Be sure to buy stringless sugar snap peas! My favorite brand is Mann’s, which are stringless, sweet, washed, and ready to eat. (No, they didn’t pay me to say that.) 😉
5. Mini Sweet Peppers and Hummus
Mini sweet peppers—perfectly sized for kids—can be found at grocery stores around the country. They’re super easy to prep—just wash and go! They can be eaten whole, seeds and all, or your kids can munch around the seeds (they’re usually just at the top of the pepper). And just like their bigger bell pepper cousins, mini sweet peppers taste stellar dipped in hummus.
Since I’m going back to school myself this fall, I’ll be packing all 5 of these tasty veggies in my lunch bag, too. Because veggies are brain food!
What are your kids’ favorite lunchbox veggies? Share with other readers in the comments below!