Healthy School Lunch Tips: Preparing nutritious lunches for your kids

Healthy School Lunch Tips: Preparing nutritious lunches for your kids

Dietician Stacy Winton of Memorial Regional Hospital provides several easy tips for parents on how to prepare healthy school lunches kids will enjoy.

Stacy’s recommended recipes:

1 cup packed pitted dates
¼ cup honey
¼ cup almond butter
¾ cup toasted almonds (unsalted or lightly salted)
1 ½ cups rolled oats (instant or quick cooking)
¼ cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1. Line an 8”x8” pan with foil, leaving overhanging edges. This will help get bars out of the pan when set.
2. Place dates in a food processor and mix until pasty; small bits may remain. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add oats, nuts, and chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon, dispersing the dates throughout the other ingredients.
3. Warm and stir honey and almond butter in a small saucepan; pour over dry ingredients. Stir quickly to evenly coat; don’t worry if the chocolate chips get melty.
4. Transfer to the lined pan, top with a piece of parchment, foil, or wax paper and press down with hands to compress. Press well so they’ll keep their shape when cut.
Chocolate Date-Nut Energy Bars

Best Black Bean Brownies Ever (They’re also gluten free and vegan!)
1 15 oz. can black beans, well rinsed and drained (plain, not seasoned)
2 large flax “eggs” (3 TBSP flaxseed meal + 6 TBSP warm water, see “Directions”) no actual eggs are used
3 TBSP coconut oil, melted (or substitute other oil of choice)
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾-1 cup sugar; to taste (no problem tasting batter; no raw eggs) *I use natural or demerara sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

**Optional toppings: mini chocolate chips, toasted pecans or other nuts, shredded coconut flakes, favorite fruit spread or jam…be creative!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease (pan spray) a 12-cavity cupcake/muffin pan
2. Thoroughly rinse and drain black beans, prepare flax “eggs” by combining flax and water in a small bowl and let sit about 5 minutes, stir again; add beans and flax mix to bowl of food processor.
3. Add remaining ingredients and puree-about 3 minutes-scraping down sides as needed.

Nutty and Nutritious Green Smoothie

1 cup almond milk
2 large handfuls raw spinach
1/2 medium or 3/4 small apple
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
1-2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup

1. Blend almond milk with spinach until smooth and no leafy chunks remain
2. Add apples and peanut butter, blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Taste, if not sweet enough, add honey to taste.
4. Enjoy as breakfast, snack, or dessert!

Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 16 oz Calories: 245 Protein: 7 gm Fat: 11 gm Fiber: 5.5 gm

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