Last week was National School Lunch Week, an annual celebration of the National School Lunch Program that strives to provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children every school day. Our knowledge of what makes for a healthy lunch has come a long way since it was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. For one, we have a better understanding of the Mediterranean diet and all of its beneﬁts, for adults and children alike.
A healthy lunch helps kids power through their day, and with Mediterranean foods and ﬂavors, they’ll eat it more for the delicious taste than anything else. Of course, the same can be said for adults – we deserve a great lunch too!
If your child gets their lunch at school, enjoying healthy meals with them at home is one way to nudge them toward making good choices in the lunch line. Check out our Mediterranean diet recipe collection and get your child involved with tasks in the kitchen like washing vegetables, measuring ingredients, or crumbling cheese.
If you pack your child’s lunch, here are ﬁve simple ideas for every day of the school week:
Monday: Make a vegetable frittata with your child’s favorite vegetables for brunch or dinner on Sunday, and save a slice for their lunch. Add fresh fruit for dessert.
Luckily, many Mediterranean dinners pack well the next day. Egg dishes like frittatas and quiches taste just as delicious cold or room temperature.
Tuesday: Pack a few tablespoons of hummus with whole grain pita or crackers, sliced bell peppers and carrots, and fresh fruit. Add olives and feta cheese to make a Mediterranean meze plate.
If you don’t have hummus on hand, make a simple salad to substitute using canned beans and/or lentils: toss rinsed and drained canned beans, such as cannellini beans, and/or lentils with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh chopped herbs, carrots and onions.
Wednesday: Make a tuna salad sandwich, Mediterranean style. Toss a can of ﬂaked tuna with half an avocado instead of mayonnaise, then add fresh parsley, chopped roasted red peppers from a jar, olive oil, and lemon juice. Scoop it on whole grain bread with some lettuce.
Thursday: Pack a container of Greek yogurt along with some granola and chopped fresh fruit or berries for a DIY parfait. Add a handful of nuts for a snack.
Friday: Make a simple whole grain pasta salad. Leftovers will pack nicely for weekend picnics.
Learn more about whole grains at wholegrainscouncil.org.
Lara Bertoia, Mediterranean Foods Alliance Program Manager
This blog post was inspired by a recent Fresh Fridays, our bi-weekly Mediterranean Foods Alliance newsletter. Click here to sign up to receive our next Fresh Fridays newsletter and never miss delicious Mediterranean recipes and cooking tips again
Join the Make Every Day Mediterranean Club Facebook group for additional information and support.