Created by author
Brainly, the world’s largest online learning and homework help community, gave us the scoop on healthy and easy home-learning snack/lunch ideas parents can make in advance and have in the fridge that are optimal for distance learning. According to one of Brainly’s experts, Pat Quinn, these 5 ideas are designed to optimize a child’s cognitive skills and keep them focused on their school work throughout the day. (They’re also computer-friendly which means no risk for sticky keyboards and messy desks!)
“During the pandemic, what goes into our kids’ bodies is even more important. Whether at home or face to face, you still want to promote that philosophy of healthy eating because it’s not only important for maintaining our kids’ immune systems and physical health, but also for maintaining their moods, energy levels and mental health.” – Pat Quinn, parenting expert at Brainly
Many schools have asked parents to maintain a schedule for their children that includes breaking for lunchtime at the same time every day. It can be pretty tough to fit this in between online classes and school work if lunches haven’t been prepared ahead of time. And despite having a schedule, your child is likely to desire a snack outside of lunch time (some teachers are even including a snack in their list of materials to bring to virtual class). For a parent that is also working from home, this can cause disruptions that prevent getting any work done for the parent and child! These 5 healthy and easy home-learning snack/lunch ideas can be made readily available in the fridge to help keep the whole household on track.
Here are Brainly’s healthy and easy home-learning snack/lunch ideas:
1. Sandwich Kabobs
This fun lunch idea is easy to prep and has almost endless variations so something is sure to appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Try making a ‘pepperoni pizza’ with mozzarella, pepperoni, tomatoes, and bread, or a ‘turkey club’ with turkey, bacon, avocado, cheese, tomatoes, and your choice of toasted bread slices. Just slide the ingredients onto a stick and you’re all set!
You could also make your staple turkey sandwich like we did in the Nova Observer Kitchen:
- Wooden skewers
- Deli meat (or try a vegan deli meat substitute to make it vegetarian!)
- Provolone and sharp cheddar cheese
- Sliced bread
Cut the crust from the bread and cut each slice into four triangles.
Spread mayo or mustard (or both) onto one side of the bread slices.
Make the skewers in the order of your choice! We did bread, spinach, meat, cheese, bread, tomato, cheese, meat, spinach, bread and topped it off with a little pickle!
2. Trail Mix
created by author
This snack idea is great because it can easily be prepared days in advance, which gives kids the opportunity to get in on the action. Trail mix is a great opportunity to give kids the freedom to choose their own snack while also teaching them how to balance sweet ingredients with healthy options.
Parents can check out the Nova Observer Kitchen’s PB&J Trail Mix:
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- ¼ cup peanut chips/morsels
- 1 cup honey flavored chex cereal
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container
3. Homemade Chips
Created by author
For a healthy spin on everyone’s favorite snack, try baking apples or zucchini in the oven. You can add your own spices/flavoring to make it the perfect snack for your kids that they don’t even realize is actually good for them.
Here’s the Nova Observer Kitchen’s Ranch Zucchini Chips recipe:
- 1 whole zucchini sliced paper thin
- 1 teaspoon sazon (coriander & annatto seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 225 F
Slice zucchini to very thin chip sized slices (use a mandolin if you have one) pat slices dry with a paper towel
Toss zucchini slices with olive oil, ranch seasoning and sazon
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread zucchini slices out evenly on the parchment.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes
Enjoy by themselves or serve with your favorite dip!
4. Bite-Sized Cucumber Sandwiches
Created by author
This fun snack replaces bread with cucumbers to create healthy mini sandwiches. You can fill them with pretty much anything, including cheese, deli meat, tomatoes, and even spreads such as chicken salad or guacamole. Also, try using cucumbers as one of the fixings inside or atop bread (instead of as a substitution for it) then slice them up into mini bite-sized sandwiches.
Check out the Nova Observer Kitchen Tomato Basil Cucumber Sandwiches:
- 1 cucumber (peeled)
- 1 plum tomato
- 1 basil leaf
- Sundried tomato cream cheese spread
- Handful of spinach leaves
- Italian dressing
Cut cucumber into quarters and then slice those quarters in half long ways. Hollow out the cucumbers by using a small spoon to scoop out the seeds.
Chop tomato into thin long ‘sticks’ the same length as the cucumber quarters.
Slice basil into thin long strips.
Spread cream cheese spread onto each half of a cucumber quarter.
Drizzle Italian dressing inside of the halves.
Add 1 spinach leaf, 3-4 tomato ‘sticks’, a strip of basil and then another spinach leaf onto one half of the cucumber quarter and then top it off with the other cucumber quarter half. Secure with toothpicks.
Repeat with remaining cucumber quarters and serve.
5. Energy Bites
Created by author
Energy bites are a great way to keep kids full between meals due to their combo of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats. You can think of them as bite-sized, less messy versions of a granola bar that don’t require any baking and can be easily customized. Check out this Nova Observer Kitchen favorite:
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ chocolate chips/morsels
- ⅔ cup of coconut shreds sweetened or unsweetened
- ½ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour to allow ingredients to stick together
Remove bowl from the refrigerator and use a spoon to scoop a small amount into the palm of your hand. Roll into a 1 inch ball. *pro tip: rub a tiny bit of olive oil into your palms to prevent mixture from sticking to your hands
Repeat until mixture is all gone.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for 3-4 weeks.
“These have almost everything your kids need from a nutritional standpoint, all rolled into one tasty and fun snack. Energy bites pack in loads of healthy carbohydrates for sustained energy, protein for growth and focus during the day, and healthy fats for brain development,” adds Quinn.
You can find tons of healthy and easy home-learning snack/lunch ideas on the internet for parents with children who are beginning uncharted virtual school or hybrid learning. The most important thing for parents to remember is to plan ahead, keep it simple and fun, and stick to a routine that works for your family.
Check out this awesome animal print cookie bar recipe for a fun family activity as an end of the week reward for surviving the start of distance learning. (You’ve earned it!)
“This is a time of uncertainty and planning out lunches and sticking to a consistent lunchtime every day can help establish a sense of normalcy for kids.” – Quinn
For more information, visit www.brainly.com