5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs _Nomster Chef

This week we are featuring 5 healthy lunches for kid chefs and their parents to make together. The best part: they aren’t all sandwiches! Many of them are rolls, or "sandwich cousins" as we like to call them. We are also super excited for spring to finally arrive so we went for maximum color in these lunches. (And as you might know, "eating the rainbow" is a great way to make sure your kiddos get lots of different types of nutrients.) Yum!

P.S. If you make any of these, post a pic on Instagram and tag us (@nomsterchef). We’d love to see your lunch creations!

rainbow rice roll Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

#1: Rainbow rice rolls - Every kid goes through a rainbow phase because rainbows = pure magic.

(Recipe inspired by The Kitchn)

Serving size: 1 person | Prep time: 20 mins

Collect Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 yellow bell pepper

  • 1 cucumber

  • 1/2 purple cabbage

  • 2 TBSP hummus

  • 1 large rice paper wrap

Collect Tools

  • Child’s chef knife or butter knife

  • Grown-up chef knife

  • Vegetable peeler

  • 1 TBSP measuring spoon

Rainbow veggies_rainbow rice roll_Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

Prep

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Wash and cut off the bumpy tops and bottoms of the red and yellow peppers. Remove the seeds. Then slice the peppers to make long strips.

  3. Wash and peel carrot. **Grown-up** Using grown-up chef knife, cut carrots into thin slices.

  4. Wash and peel cucumber. Cut cucumbers into thin slices.

  5. Remove the thick outer leaves of cabbage and wash. Slice into thin shredded pieces.

  6. Fill a shallow dish with warm water. Place rice wrapper in the warm water making sure it’s completely submerged. Count to 15 and remove rice wrapper from the water. It should be softened, but still slightly stiff.

  7. Lay the rice wrapper softly on a cutting board. Place your veggie slices in rainbow order (red pepper, carrot, yellow pepper, cucumber, purple cabbage).

  8. Spread about 2 TBSP of hummus over the sliced veggies.

  9. Fold the sides of the wrapper in, then carefully roll up your rice wrapper.

  10. Enjoy right away! If you want to pack them for lunch, wrap the rice roll in plastic wrap or a sustainable alternative such as Bee’s Wrap.

  11. Clean tools and wipe down prep station.

Pro tips

1. Since this recipe is heavy on the cutting, you can help your kid chef by prepping the veggies in advance. Veggies can be prepped several days ahead of time and refrigerated.

2. You can use the extra veggies to make additional wraps, or we saved the extra veggies and ate them as a snack!


sweet potato black bean avocado quesadilla Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

#2: Sweet potato black bean and avocado quesadilla

Serving size: 1 quesadilla | Prep time: 30 mins

Collect Ingredients

  • 2 corn tortillas (or whole-wheat flour tortillas)

  • 1 sweet potato

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 avocado

  • ½ tsp maple syrup

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp cumin

  • Pinch of salt

Collect Tools

  • Fork

  • Strainer

  • 2 medium bowls

  • Spoon

  • Child’s chef knife or butter knife

  • Grown-up chef knife

  • Cutting board

  • 1 tbsp measuring spoon

  • Can opener

  • Masher (optional)

Prep

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Using a fork, poke the sweet potato 6 times creating small holes all around the sweet potato.

  3. Microwave sweet potato on high for 3 minutes. **Grown-up** check to see if the sweet potato is soft enough to scoop. Be careful it might be hot! If it still feels hard to the touch, microwave for another 2-3 minutes. Once softened, remove from microwave and let it cool down.

  4. While sweet potato is cooling down, **Grown-up** open can of black beans.

  5. Pour into a strainer in the sink. Drain and rinse black beans. Then transfer to a medium bowl.

  6. Using the same fork, mash black beans or use a masher if you have one.

  7. **Grown-up** cut avocado in half on cutting board. To cut around the large seed inside, you can carefully cut down halfway, flip the avocado over and cut through the other half. Remove seed.

  8. Using a spoon, scoop avocado out of skin and into medium bowl.

  9. Mash avocado using a fork.

  10. If sweet potato has cooled down enough, carefully cut sweet potato in half on cutting board.

  11. Using a spoon, scoop sweet potato out of skin and mash with fork. 

  12. Spread sweet potato over one tortilla, covering the whole tortilla.

  13. Drizzle 1/2 tsp maple syrup over mashed sweet potato. Sprinkle cinnamon and cumin to taste.

  14. Spread black beans over sweet potato, again making a layer to cover whole tortilla and mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 tbsp).

  15. Spread top layer of mashed avocado over black beans (about 2 tbsp).

  16. Top with pinch of salt and cover with second tortilla. Optional: *Grown-up* Place finished quesadilla in waffle iron to give it some extra crisp!

  17. Clean tools and wipe down prep station. Enjoy!

Pro Tip

We used the leftovers to make sweet potato skins. Same idea as the quesadilla except we used the sweet potato skins instead of tortillas.


Pbj sushi roll-ups Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

#3: PB&J Sushi - a new take on an old fave!

Serving size: 4 “sushi” rolls, equivalent to 1 sandwich | Prep time: 15 mins

Collect Ingredients

  • 2 slices bread (we recommend whole wheat or whole grain)
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter (or other favorite nut butter)
  • 2 strawberries
  • 1 banana

Collect Tools

  • Child’s chef knife or butter knife
  • Cutting board
  • Rolling pin or a large soup can
  • Small bowl
  • Plate
strawberry banana peanut butter and jelly PBJ _Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

Prep

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. On the cutting board, carefully cut crusts off of bread slices.
  3. Using a rolling pin, completely flatten both slices of bread.
  4. Spread 1 TBSP peanut butter on each slice of bread. Set aside on a plate.
  5. Wash strawberries. **Grown-up** cut off stems and slice strawberries.
  6. Peel banana and carefully slice.
  7. Spread sliced strawberries and banana over peanut butter.
  8. Roll up each slice and cut each slice in half.
  9. Clean tools and wipe down prep station. Enjoy!

Pro Tips

  1. Grown-up can prepare sliced strawberries and banana ahead of time.
  2. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a large soup can.

cucumber hummus roll-ups Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

#4: Cucumber Hummus Roll-ups : Because hummus is yummus

(Recipe inspired by Dextonista)

Serving size: 5 rollups | Prep time: 20 mins

Collect Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • Hummus (make your own hummus recipe below, or store-bought)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • Pita bread (optional, for serving), we recommend whole wheat

Collect Tools

  • Peeler or mandolin
  • Spoon

Prep

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Wash cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
  3. **Grown-up** (very important: mandolins are not appropriate for kids!): Using peeler or mandolin slice cucumber lengthwise into 5 very thin slices. 
  4. Slice 10 cherry tomatoes in half
  5. Using a spoon, spread hummus onto each cucumber slice.
  6. Place 4 slices of cherry tomato onto each slice of cucumber. Spread them evenly across over each cucumber slice.
  7. Carefully roll up each cucumber slice. The tighter your rolls, the better the rolls will stay together.
  8. Clean tools and wipe down prep station.
  9. Serve with pita bread and enjoy!

Hummus Prep

Serving size: ~8 servings | Prep time: 15 mins

Collect Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • ½ cup tahini (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Collect Tools

  • Food processor or bullet
  • Strainer
  • Small bowl
  • Can opener

Prep

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. **Grown-up** open can of chickpeas.
  3. Using a strainer, drain chickpeas over a bowl. Save the chickpea liquid.
  4. Place all ingredients in food processor. Add the chickpea liquid as needed. Mix together until smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Clean tools and wipe down prep station.

Pro Tip

You can also add cumin or paprika to give your hummus more taste.


unicorn+cream+cheese+sandwich_Nomster Chef_ 5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

#5 Unicorn Sammies - Because... Unicorns!

Serving size: 1 sandwich | Prep time: 15 mins

Collect Ingredients

  • 2 slices bread (we recommend whole wheat or whole grain)
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP cream cheese
  • Pink, yellow, teal and purple food coloring

Collect Tools

  • Child’s knife or butter knife
  • Veggie peeler
  • Toothpicks
  • Plate
unicorn toast Nomster Chef_5 Healthy Lunches for Kid Chefs

Prep

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Wash cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Peel cucumber and cut into slices.
  4. Cut 3 cherry tomatoes in half.
  5. Spread 1 TBSP of cream cheese on each slice of bread.
  6. Here comes the fun part!! Squirt one drop of food coloring, using each of the colors, on different parts of the cream cheese.
  7. Using a toothpick, swirl the food coloring into your cream cheese,
  8. Place cherry tomatoes on half of one slice of bread.
  9. Place cucumbers on half of other slice of bread.
  10. Fold or cut bread slices in half to form 2 half sandwiches, one tomato and one cucumber.
  11. Clean tools and wipe down prep station.
  12.  Enjoy!

Pro Tips

1. If you are interested in using all natural ingredients to dye your cream cheese, check out Vibrant and Pure, the original creator of unicorn toast!!

2. Try it with different colors! You can make mermaid toast using green and blue hues.


Monica Meng

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ PHOTOGRAPHER:

Monica is a former preschool teacher who loves whipping up healthy and gluten-free concoctions. She strives to eat vegan, but sometimes all she wants is steak frites. 


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