Looking for creative ways to make your sack lunches more interesting and healthy? I'm loving the idea of rainbow lunches, which is small servings of a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables and proteins. The naturally occurring colors in foods like red peppers and purple grapes are related to special properties associated with those foods. The theory works this way: a colorful plate means a well-balanced and super-nutritious meal! This meal containing sliced red peppers, cubed sharp cheddar cheese, purple grapes, pink smoked ham, green snap peas with yellow hummus and sweet-and-spicy brown almonds (recipe below) is chock full of flavor, texture, vitamins, antioxidants and protein. Plus, it's fun to eat with your hands (for kids or adults)!
This is just one example of a rainbow lunch. You can easily adapt this idea for every season and region. The key is a rainbow of colors, fresh as possible, and small portions, avoiding "beige" foods filled with carbs and processed chemicals. Take the kids with you to the grocery store and have them pick out a rainbow of foods to put in their lunches. Encourage them to be adventurous and creative and they're likely to start trying a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.
Check out this helpful info graphic for more inspiration:
These sweet and spicy almonds are the perfect lunch box fare. Make a batch and grab a handful for each meal!
Sweet and Spicy Almonds from Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups unblanched almonds 1/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon olive oil
Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook honey and water with olive oil, stirring, until combined, 1 minute. Add almonds; toss to coat. Transfer nuts to sugar mixture (do not scrape extra glaze into bowl); toss to coat. Cool in a single layer.
HINT: Store these almonds in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.