Avoid Midday Fuss with Quick Lunch Ideas for Kids

(Family Features) If you're a parent, grandparent, caregiver or nanny, you know that sometime around noon each day you will see signs of a hungry child. But you can avoid the cranky or fussy cries by preparing quick and nutritious lunches to keep them full and energized with ingredients kids will love.

The importance of a nutritious lunch
Hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.HealthyChildren.org reports that a child's daily food intake-breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks-plays a crucial role in their physical and mental development. And, though the importance of breakfast is often cited, the calories in your child's lunch are essential for keeping them energized throughout the afternoon as well. What's more, the midday meal provides vitamins and minerals kids need for growth and good health.

For proper nutrition, your child should eat a lunch including vegetables, fruits, proteins and low-fat milk or other dairy products. In addition to keeping kids energized, their ability to focus in the afternoon-whether at school or at home-relies on getting the proper nutrients from their lunch, allowing them to develop through lessons and play.

Quick and wholesome lunch ideas
So, how can you serve your child a nutritious lunch in the short time between morning commitments and afternoon activities? Here are some great noon time meal ideas to get kids the nutrients they need:

  • Sandwich and smoothie - One easy lunch combines a peanut-butter-banana sandwich with a fruit smoothie. When you shop, look for the new white whole wheat bread to use for sandwiches; it has the good fiber of whole grains in the familiar white slices kids often prefer. Accompany the sandwich with a lush fruit smoothie by blending your child's favorite frozen fruits such as mangos, strawberries, raspberries or peaches with vanilla yogurt and a little milk or juice to get just the right consistency.

  • Tuna melt and fruit - Pile deli tuna salad on both sides of a toasted English muffin. Top with sliced American cheese. Place on a paper plate and melt the cheese in the microwave oven uncovered on High for one minute. Serve with slices of a crisp apple, such as Braeburn or Gala.

  • Pasta with protein - If you're in a time squeeze, give Compleats Kids Meals from Hormel Foods a try. Heating time is just 45 seconds for a 200-calorie portion of ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, pasta and chicken, or macaroni and beef. The shelf-stable meals are especially designed for kids 3 to 8 years old. While you finish last night's leftovers, your youngster enjoys a wholesome meal, a glass of milk and some colorful fresh fruit.

For more quick meal ideas for kids, and to learn about Compleats Kids Meals, visit www.hormel.com.

SOURCE: Hormel

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