When it comes to parenting, it can be difficult to plan healthy meals that will be appealing to your children and ones that they will love. Add on the day-to-day time crunch with added pressure to pack and prepare school lunches, and it can be hard. As you plan for the return of the school year try your hand at these quick and easy lunches suggested by nutritionist Nicole Barrato. Each has flexibility to make adaptations to your picky eater and can be made fun all while packing in nutrition.
Nicole Barrato
544 Riverside Ave.
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 429-4211

Nutrition is Nicole Barrato’s specialty. She has 15 years experience and has created NutriGreene, a local private nutrition practice in Westport. Nicole is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She has a masters degree in nutrition and is Connecticut state certified. She has expanded her business to include two dietitians. At NutriGreene, their certified dietitians will help you set dietary goals, plan meals and shopping lists, create behavioral interventions, and plan for days where it is more difficult to stick to your diet such as holidays, travel and eating out. They provide a variety of services including those directed at adults, children, people with diabetes, eating disorders, pregnancy and lactation. Unique to other nutritionists, NutriGreene accepts insurance.

Goat Cheese & Jelly On Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Making this simple lunch will save you time in preparation and is a convenient go-to meal. Simply spread jelly and goat cheese on delicious cinnamon raisin bread. Keep a fun cookie cutter on hand to cut the bread into your child’s favorite character or area of interest. The more you get your children involved in the preparation, the more you increase the likelihood of them enjoying the meal, meanwhile taking ownership of healthy eating. Cookie cutting the bread makes it fun while they are still getting the benefits and nutrition.

Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This meal is easily adaptable and quick to throw together. Taking the time to pre-cook the chicken is best, however, when it comes to reality, sometimes you just don’t have the time. In that case, consider adding a pre-packaged chicken to your grocery list. Get creative and adapt the contents to your child’s liking. Consider adding carrots or their favorite veggie. Add a dressing such as Italian dressing, mustard, or olive oil for condiment lovers; olive oil is a good healthy fat option.

Egg Quiche Muffins

This recipe can be prepared in advance, frozen, and taken out on a day of your choosing. It is universally loved as a morning breakfast on the run, snack, or lunch; who doesn’t love breakfast for lunch or dinner. Use eggs and sneak in vegetables and calcium-rich cheese. Adding in ground meat is an excellent source of iron. To aid in portion control and convenience, cook your egg quiche muffins in muffin tins. Pack them right away in a thermos to maintain the heat such as Foogo or Lunchbots insulated food jars.

Related: Ask An Expert: How To Give Your Picky Eater More Healthy Foods

Turkey & Avocado Wrap

Whole grain bread is recommended, however, if you have a picky eater other bread types will work. Important to keep in mind, as well, is portion control. Select an appropriately sized wrap without overdoing it in size. Similar to the grilled chicken lettuce wrap, adapt the ingredients to what your child enjoys. Adding in turkey and avocado are healthy options rich with nutritional benefits.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

It’s not so bad if your child is a PB and J lover. It is quick to prepare and packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, B6, magnesium and potassium. These nutritional benefits will help to keep bones, muscles and immune systems healthy. Get creative and make it fun by selecting a new flavor of jelly or peanut butter, or make it a surprise.

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Kimberly Ord is a freelance writer and lifetime resident of Connecticut. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.