How to Make a Protein-Packed Lunch for Kids with Nut Allergies
Kids with nut allergies have limited lunchtime options. Most food manufacturers produce their products in factories that use nuts. This fact leads to nut contamination in a wide variety of foods. As a concerned parent, it’s your job to feed your kids the nutrition they need, without exposing them to that risk. Protein is an essential macronutrient for healthy bones, strong muscles, and an alert mind. However, you don’t need to add meat to your kid’s diet to provide them with the protein they need on the playground and in the classroom. Plant-based proteins provide your kids with optimal nutrition, and boundless energy – without the afternoon carb crash.
Protein-Packed Lunches are the Way to Go
The most important part of this recipe, is sourcing fresh, organic ingredients. You’ll need chicken breast for this meal. It’s critical that you choose free-range chicken breast for best results. In a study conducted on the quality of chicken meat, research shows that commercial chicken has up to 3-times the quantity of estrogen than free-range chicken sources. Excess estrogen isn’t ideal for your kids, so stick to free-range chicken sources.
Next on your shopping list is quinoa. Quinoa is rich in fiber and essential nutrients. It’s also unique in that it contains the 9 amino acids that are the building blocks of protein – nutrients necessary for optimal skeletal and muscular development. One cup of quinoa contains over 9 grams of protein. Quinoa comes loaded with the beneficial plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol. These polyphenol antioxidant flavonoids clear the blood of free radicals and keep your kid’s skin looking healthy while boosting the immune system.
Chickpeas, An Excellent Plant-Based Source of Protein and Fiber
Chickpeas are the next ingredient and another high-protein food that’s a staple all over the world, especially in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cooking. Pick up some cherry tomatoes, mustard and a few lemons on your way out of the grocery store to round up this list.
Now onto the recipe. The most time-consuming part of this dish is cooking the chicken. You want to make sure it’s cooked through but not too long that it becomes dry. Once you’ve cooked the chicken, the rest of this recipe takes around 5-minutes to finish.
Take two mixing bowls and place the lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil in the small bowl. Mix everything until blended well. Mustard helps add a tangy flavor to this dish and a bit of sodium as well. Sodium is essential for electrolyte balance in the body and is healthy, just as long as you don’t overdo it. Next is the extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil provides beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid. Monounsaturated fat helps promote cardiovascular health and reduces your risk of stroke. On the other hand, the limonoids in lemons are another excellent source of plant-based polyphenol antioxidants that help protect the body against free radical damage. Together, they pack a one-two punch against disease–and that’s just the dressing!
In the second bowl, combine all the other ingredients and pour in your extra virgin olive oil, mustard and lemon juice mix. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste. You won’t need much with this, especially if your chicken is already well-seasoned. Lastly, crumble in some feta cheese as a topping and some homemade strawberry fruit snacks for dessert and it’s good to go!
More Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids:
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Easy Nutrtionally-Balanced Lunch for Kids That Don’t Eat Meat
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Nut-Free Kids Lunch (High Protein)
- Prep Time: 5
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp mustard
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- ¼ cup unsalted canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup chopped cucumber
- 1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
- 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 oz cooked chicken
- salt and black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard.
- In a large bowl place the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes and chicken.
- Add the olive oil mixture and toss to combine.
- Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and serve.
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