Back-to-school season is here! Whether your child is returning to the classroom in-person or virtually, a healthy lunch is critical to keeping kiddos focused and fueled up for all of the day’s lessons. Of course, the challenge can be finding nutritious options that kids actually enjoy.
Enter the peanut.
Packed with protein for an energy boost and super versatile, peanuts are the ultimate back-to-school lunchtime staple. Whether starring in a PB and J (or a PB and honey—yum!), served as the perfect schmear on celery, roasted, boiled, or mixed into a tasty trail mix, these hard-working little legumes are a favorite among kiddos and teens alike.
Peanuts pack a wallop of protein—7 grams per serving, which is more than any other nut. They’re also heart healthy and provide an excellent source of fiber and good fats to keep growing kids full and going strong throughout the school day.
As an added bonus, peanuts are also super sustainable and available all year round. Grown right here in Alabama (with half of the nation’s peanuts grown within 100-mile radius of Dothan), just a single acre of peanuts will make a 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches! And you don’t have to worry about your peanut purchase going to waste. A jar of peanut butter can be kept in your pantry for up to six months and in the refrigerator for up to a year (though, let’s be honest, that salty-sweet goodness never really makes it that long with hungry kiddos around!).
Here are a few quick and easy ideas for implementing the powerful peanut into lunches this year:
- 3-Ingredient, No-Bake Peanut Power Bites
Just place a cup and a half of rolled oats in the food processer, then blend with 2/3 cup of peanut butter plus 3 tablespoons of honey. Form into dough ball with hands, store in your fridge, and VOILA! You’ve got a quick, easy snack kids will swear tastes too good to be healthy.
- Easy Apple Sandos
Core red apples and cut into slices about ¾ inch thick. Smear generous amount of peanut butter on one side of the circular apple slice, sprinkle with cinnamon, and then top with another circular apple slice. Snackable, packable, and delicious!
- Peanutty Trail Mix
Mix roasted peanuts with dried cranberries, raisins, and pretzel bites for a savory-sweet surprise perfect for a midday snack attack.
Show your little goober how much you love him or her by implementing peanuts in daily snacks and lunches. For more info on why peanuts belong in your child’s lunchbox, please visit https://www.alpeanuts.com/.
Written by: Jamie Walden Hudgens, Alabama Media Group