If your child takes his lunch to day care or preschool -- or even if he has his lunch at home -- you're probably always on the hunt for creative and nutritious foods that he'll actually eat and enjoy. A plain flour tortilla holds a lot of promise when it comes to making a lunch that's both tasty and healthy. Think of it as a blank slate just waiting for you to jazz it up with a variety of yummy ingredients, which will also supply the nutrients your kiddo needs to keep him energized throughout the day.
1 Replace your child's usual sliced bread with a flour tortilla to make a wrap. You could spread the tortilla with peanut butter and an all-fruit jelly, or roll sliced deli turkey and low-fat cheese inside the tortilla.
2 Cut a flour tortilla into wedges for dipping. Make a nutritious dip, such as spinach hummus, by combining garbanzo beans or chickpeas, chopped spinach, a little lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor. Alternatively, you can make a kid-friendly guacamole by mashing some avocados with a tomato, lime juice and other seasonings your child likes. Or, to keep things really simple, low-fat cottage cheese is a perfectly healthy dip as well.
3 Make homemade tortilla chips that are healthier than the high-fat and high-sodium versions you might buy in a supermarket. Cut flour tortillas into pieces, brush the pieces with canola oil, sprinkle them with a tiny bit of salt and broil the chips until they're golden brown and crunchy. Include a side of guacamole for dipping.
4 Fill a flour tortilla with shredded white-meat chicken, chopped tomatoes and low-fat cheddar cheese. Low-sodium canned beans, such as black or pinto, are a high-fiber option that can replace the meat, but if you're preparing them ahead of time, make sure they're well-drained so they don't make the tortilla soggy.
5 Turn a flour tortilla into a nutritious dessert. Spread a tortilla with low-fat cream cheese, sprinkle the cheese with cinnamon, and top it with sliced fruit such as berries, pears or apples. Fold the tortilla in half and cut it into small pieces. Alternatively, spread a flour tortilla with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle it with a dash of sugar and sweet spices such as apple pie spice or cinnamon. Broil the tortilla until it's golden brown. Serve with low-fat plain yogurt drizzled with honey.
- Replace the usual white flour tortilla with a whole-wheat flour tortilla. This will give your child more fiber in his lunch. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and can keep your little one from becoming constipated.
- If your sending your little one off to day care or preschool with a flour tortilla that has refrigerated ingredients, such as deli meat or cheese, add a flexible ice pack to her lunchbox so the food doesn't spoil.
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