It’s okay to admit it: Prepping school lunch seems to get harder as the week rolls on. But guess what? You don’t have to be in charge with making sure the lunch box gets packed every day! Getting your kids involved in their own avocado meal planning and making helps kids find their food that much more exciting and delicious.
Besides the help, getting kids involved in lunch prep is also a tasty hands-on opportunity to empower them (cooking is a life skill, after all), as well as educate them about nutrition basics.
Need some ideas to get your kids started on their own avocado meal plans? Here are some of our favorite go-to lunches that kids can make independently or with just a little help from you.
Sandwiches are the default school lunches, and that’s because they are the ultimate, portable food. But they don’t have to be boring, flavorless, or less nutritious. Start off with a whole grain crusty bread and cut the slices a little thicker so they can tolerate a bit of moisture. Let your kids pick a filling, but keep the options savory to cut down on sugar.
Opt for butter over margarine as your moisture-resistant layer (Tip: keep your butter in a butter bell so that you don’t end up destroying the bread) or mash some avocado (what kid doesn’t like mashing things?!) with a pinch of salt, pepper, and lemon juice (so it doesn’t oxidize so quickly) and use that as your spread.
Finally, add some protein — you can go for a Swiss cheese or some turkey slices, which are now available without overly salty nitrates.
The final step is the one your kids will find the most fun! Let them cut their sandwiches into fun shapes using oversize cookie cutters. Keeping a variety of these in the kitchen ensures that lunch is always a little bit different and exciting!
When you’ve exhausted your ideas for sandwiches, a good Plan B is the roll-up. Half the fun here is in the making of it, and if you make it tasty enough, the eating is going to be just as much of a treat!
Get all your fillings ready to go: grated cheddar cheese, baby spinach leaves, diced cucumbers, avocado slices, and cubed chicken breast are all fantastic choices. Just be sure to avoid diced tomatoes or anything that is overly juicy, or you’ll end up with a soggy wrap.
Next, grab a whole wheat tortilla (they roll easier than corn) and spread a little bit of mayo and mustard along one side. Then, let the kids layer their own fillings, making sure they grab at least one vegetable along with their proteins. Once they’re done, it’s time to get rolling (just don’t pile the fillings too high or they won’t roll up easily). Cut each cylinder into handy 3″ lengths and pack in reusable containers.
Sushi is a fantastic and interactive way to get kids involved, and they’ll also love the grown-up nature of their meal. In many cases, vegetarian sushi is the most approachable way to introduce kids to a lunch that will have them the star of their tables.
You’ll need to invest in some sushi rolling mats, which can be bought online or at a Japanese kitchen supply shop, and do some of the prep work, including rinsing and cooking some Japanese sushi rice (the water-to-rice ratio is 1:1).
Let the rice cool a bit before working in a little mixture of sweetened rice vinegar.
Now, call in the kids! Have them lay the rice on the rolling mat and cover it with a sheet of nori (dried seaweed) before placing some crisp veggies (carrots and red pepper, cut into matchsticks) and avocado (for creaminess) in the center. Top with a touch of mayonnaise and roll it up- voila!
Guac is the ultimate party dipping food and is sure to please kids of all ages. Instead of settling for store-bought guacamole, turn it into a team exercise and you’ll never look back. Chopping is minimal — in fact, only some diced red onion and cilantro require knife skills.
The remainder of the guac-making process is super kid-friendly. Halve two or three ripe avocados and remove their seeds. Then, scoop out the flesh and call in the troops. While someone is on mashing duty (a potato masher works wonders — just keep it chunky), have another volunteer squeeze in the juice of two limes. Add salt and the red onion and cilantro, then stir. Grab some good-quality tortilla chips and pack them separately so they don’t get soggy before lunchtime.
Quick and easy kid-friendly food needn’t be unhealthy or wrapped in plastic. When it’s a team effort, everyone wants a piece of the prize — and that’s a winning formula!