Monday, August 31, 2009
In the last days of summer why not get out and take your kids to the playground with a wonderful picnic lunch. Some of my favorite memories of visiting the playground is the “down time” we had relaxing and eating our lunch on the “big blanket.” In keeping with the “playful” feeling I tried to bring food that would appeal to my kids sense of fun too. I tried to think rather unconventionally not the traditional “sandwich and chips” of an everyday meal.
I thought I’d give you a few ideas, maybe you haven’t tried, which my kids loved for packing fun into their playground picnics or you can use these ideas for lunchboxes and keeping them happy and full at school:
1. Dip it.
Kids love to dip things, so pack little containers of hummus or spinach dip and pita bread. The Mediterranean-inspired dips are packed with protein and a good source of fiber. Celery sticks with a cottage-cheese salsa dip, baby carrots and yummy salad dressing dip, (honey mustard is a favorite of my kids) or apple slices and peanut butter can contribute to the fruits-and-veggies quota.
Yogurt dip: this recipe has a “fresh” taste which my kids love!
yummy yogurt dip
• 1 medium hot house cucumber
• 1 cup fat-free plain yogurt
• 1 cup fat-free sour cream
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning, divided
• freshly ground black pepper
Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and grate into a medium mixing bowl. Add yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Skewer it.
children love veggies and cheese kabobs
Eating the same old sandwich over and over again is boring. So mix it up a bit! You can put all the essentials of a sandwich on wood skewers. Thread alternating small chunks of turkey, ham, cheese and bread (add cherry tomatoes for fun) on skewers for a new dimension. This trick also works well with fruit. The following fruit make wonderful kabobs: Fresh or canned Pineapple, Bananas, Star fruit, Peaches, Nectarines, Mango, Papaya, Kiwi fruit, Cantaloupe, and Melons Cherries, Pitted Grapes Apples and Pears.
fruit kabobs with raspberry sauce
Colorful fruit skewers
12 wooden skewers
1 large ripe mango, peeled
2 large oranges, peeled
2 large bananas, peeled
250 small strawberries, hulled
Soak skewers in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Cut mango and oranges into 3cm chunks. Cut bananas into 3cm slices. Thread fruit onto skewers, alternating the varieties. Serves 12
3. Wrap it.
Add some pizazz with colored tortillas. Smear red and green ones with a ranch dip or cream cheese and layer in cold cuts. They're tasty, colorful and easy. I have even made a wrap of the traditional peanut butter and jelly with bananas and boy did my kids love them!
turkey and cheese wrap filled with veggies
4. Cut it out.
Make your kids favorite sandwich and make it just a bit more jazzy but cutting it with a cookie cutter, something this simple makes it feel that much more special to your kids, and you will be surprised how fast they eat it!
kids love fun shapes!
5. Fun Desserts
There are so many wonderful brownies and baked bars that kids love but this is a favorite of my kids which I got from Parents Magazine.
6 mini chocolate, caramel, or berry-flavored popcorn cakes
1 to 2 Tbs. strawberry-flavored cream cheese
6 banana slices
6 fresh blueberries
Spread cakes with cream cheese and top with banana slices. If desired, dollop with additional cream cheese and top with a blueberry. Serves 2.
Now go on take some time and visit a playground with your kids, one day you will look back and smile on the memories! Do you have a playground story you would like to share with us?