Eat More Fruits & Veggies!
Incorporating vegetables into your kid’s lunch can be fun and easy! This is a healthy, balanced lunch packed with fresh spinach, plant protein, and healthy fats. Pinwheel sandwiches are a fun “finger-food” for kids. You simply add ingredients to a tortilla or wrap, roll them up and slice! If you've never tried chickpea salad, it has the flavors of traditional chicken salad, but made with chickpeas instead of chicken. Chickpeas are a great staple to have in the pantry because they are shelf stable and work well in a number of recipes. Their mild nutty taste pairs well with many seasonings and combinations. Chickpeas are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant-based protein. Additionally chickpeas contain all of the essential amino acids except methionine. You can make these pinwheels with a whole grain tortilla or wrap, as these contain methionine!
Chickpeas Spinach Pinwheels
Serving: 8 pinwheels
1 15.5oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 cup spinach
2 heaping tbsp mayonnaise of choice
1 tbsp chopped chives or green onion (may sub with fresh dill)
½ tsp ground mustard seed
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt (more to taste)
⅛ tsp pepper
1 avocado mashed
2 slices cheese of choice
Sliced tomato and leafy greens if desired
1. Add chickpea filling ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until combined, but leaving texture. You may also simply add chickpeas to a mixing bowl with mayo and mash with a fork, then add remaining ingredients and combine.
2. Mash avocado and spread on two tortillas or wraps.
3. Spread chickpea filling over avocado and two slices of cheese on top. Add tomato slices and lettuce if desired.
4. Roll up tortilla/wrap and slice into pinwheels.
This recipe is a simple way to add more fresh spinach to your kid’s diet. I blend a cup of fresh spinach with the chickpea salad. Since spinach has such a mild taste it mixes great with the flavors. Each serving contains half a cup of fresh spinach! Everyone knows spinach is “good” for us, but why exactly? Spinach is one of the most popular leafy greens, and for good reason! It’s packed full of nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. Spinach also contains phytonutrients that offer a variety of health benefits.
Fruit skewers are super fun for kids! For this recipe I used strawberries, kiwi, mandarins and blueberries. You can use nearly any fruit you have on hand. For fun I shape the strawberries and kiwifruit using cute fruit and veggie cutters. You can also simply slice the fruit and add to the skewer as is. If you’re using a cutter, start by slicing strawberries in half. Then cut shapes into each half. Next slice kiwis about half an inch thick before cutting into shapes. This guarantees they will be thick enough to add to your skewer. You can use a mini wooden skewer or simply cut large wooden skewers to approximately 4 inches to fit in your PlanetBox. For safety I also recommend cutting off the sharp edge of the skewer before placing it in the lunchbox.
Serving: 3 mini skewers
3 skewers (4 inch)
2 large strawberries
Cucumbers and Carrots with Hemp Seed Ranch Dressing
For this lunch I also included cucumbers and carrots with a hemp seed ranch dressing. You can use a fruit and veggie cutter to make cute shapes if you choose! In my experience, this often encourages kids to try and/or eat more fruits and veggies.
Although cucumbers are often thought of as a vegetable, cucumbers are technically a fruit! They are naturally hydrating because of their water content and are a great source of vitamin k. To maximize nutrients and fiber leave cucumbers unpeeled. This will often depend on your child’s preference!
Carrots are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene. They pair deliciously with this hemp seed ranch dressing. Hemp seed ranch dressing tastes similar to a classic ranch, but it’s dairy-free and made with hemp seeds and fresh herbs! Hemp seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and include all the essential amino acids our body needs!
¾ cup hemp seeds
½ cup unsweetened plant milk or yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp chives
½ tsp ground mustard powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder (more to taste)
¼ tsp salt
Purified water, if needed to reach desired consistency
Nuts and Dark Chocolate
Lastly, for a sweet treat I included cashews and dark chocolate chips. Cashews are a source of plant protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats. They're also rich in copper, magnesium, and manganese. These nutrients aid in brain health, immunity and bone health. When it comes to sweets, dark chocolate is a great choice. It’s rich in antioxidants, soluble fiber and minerals. Make sure to buy quality dark chocolate with a high cacao content to maximize nutrients.