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Back-to-school fuel: Healthy lunch and snack ideas that won’t put you in a slump

Dolores Woods, RDN, handpicked five flavorful and nutrient-packed lunch and snack recipes that your kids will be excited to see in their lunchboxes!
Dolores Woods, RDN, handpicked five flavorful and nutrient-packed lunch and snack recipes that your kids will be excited to see in their lunchboxes!

In the midst of shopping for back-to-school supplies, nutrition can sometimes be the last thing on our mind.  If you are looking for one less thing to worry about, Dolores Woods, RDN, a registered dietitian with UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, shares five easy, healthy, and kid-friendly lunch and snack ideas that your child is sure to love.  

Colorful Pinwheel Sandwiches

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 1

1 whole wheat tortilla or 1 whole grain lavash (thin flatbread)




Low-fat cream cheese


Lean protein choices:

1 ounce deli-style oven-roasted turkey

1 ounce deli-style oven-roasted chicken

1 ounce tuna salad

1 ounce egg salad


1/2 cup spinach leaves

¼ cup sliced bell peppers

¼ cup onion, sliced

¼ cup pickles, sliced

¼ cup carrots, shredded

¼ of an avocado, sliced

On a plate or cutting board, layer spread on tortilla or bread. Next, add selected protein and veggies. Roll up tortilla and slice into 1-inch segments to get pinwheel effect. If you are using lavash bread, roll up and slice in half.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 8


1 cup peanut butter

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups rolled oats

2 tablespoon cocoa powder

In a medium saucepan over low heat, pour in and melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips until smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Add rolled oats and stir for 1 minute until combined.

Scoop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes or until set.

Store refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Frozen Berry Yogurt Parfait Cups

Start to finish: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Servings: 8

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoon honey

Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend with an immersion blender, or combine ingredients in a regular blender. Scoop mixture into muffin liners. Freeze for at least 2 hours or until set. Thaw for 5 minutes before enjoying.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Start to finish: 30 minutes


1 egg

1 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic salt

1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs

8 low-fat mozzarella sticks, frozen

Vegetable oil cooking spray

Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees. Lightly spritz air fryer pan surface with cooking spray.

In a shallow bowl, beat egg and water. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine seasoning, garlic salt, and breadcrumbs.

Working with one mozzarella stick at a time, dip cheese into egg and roll in breadcrumbs.  Transfer to a plate and repeat process. Freeze cheese sticks for 10 minutes.

Repeat process of dipping the mozzarella sticks in egg and breadcrumbs and freeze for another 10 minutes.

Spray breaded cheese sticks with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in air fryer basket. Cook for 4-8 minutes, until they are golden brown and melted inside.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Servings: 12

1 cup chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ cup natural peanut butter

¼ cup honey

Pinch of sea salt, if peanut butter is not salted

Line mini muffin tin with paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave for about 1 minute. Stir and continue heating the mixture in 30 second intervals until smooth.

Place a spoonful of chocolate in the bottom of each mini muffin liner in the tin. Put tin aside and let chocolate set.

In another medium bowl, add in peanut butter, honey, and salt. Microwave for about 15 seconds, or until mixture is soft and easy to pour.

Pour peanut butter mixture over chocolate and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set

Enjoy these delicious recipes, and have a great school year!

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