WIC Kitchen: Healthy (and fast) lunches that the other kids will envy
Sep. 20, 2023
By Mary Wade Burnside and Sarah Moore
With school back in session, some parents have to decide: Give your kids money for the cafeteria or pack a lunch?
Both can be valid choices with their advantages, but if time is the thing keeping you from sending your children off to school with homemade food, perhaps these recipes can provide some assistance.
Sure, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit and a bag of something crunchy is a quick option. But if you can invest a little bit more time, here are some great selections that will provide a variety of choices from the different food groups while helping to expand your child’s palate.
Perhaps the bean and cheese quesadilla might not sound ideal as a meal to be eaten a few hours after it’s prepared. But according to our Monongalia County Health Department’s WIC Kitchen nutritionist, this actually holds up well and is still tasty even when it’s not right out of the pan.
Our next recipe, yogurt-dipped fruit, would be best packed in an insulated lunch bag. It’s a yummy, healthy choice that the other kids will envy. And you could make this the evening before, and it doesn’t take long at all.
Another item to put together in advance would be the Avocado Corn Salad, which is not only colorful and nutritious, but also will allow WIC participants to use up their farmers market benefits before October.
Bean and cheese quesadilla
Six wheat tortillas
Two cups cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips (around six per quesadilla)
¾ cup salsa
Spread refried beans over one half of each wrap. Dot over salsa, then top with tortilla chips and cheese. Fold each wrap over and gently press down to secure.
Lightly spray a pan over medium heat, then add two quesadillas. Spray the top, then fry for a couple of minutes until golden and crisp on the bottom. Flip them over and cook for another two-three minutes until golden and crisp on the other side. Remove from the pan and repeat batches.
Slice quesadillas in half, serve up and enjoy!
Whole milk vanilla yogurt
Wash and slice off heads of strawberries
Dip strawberries (or your choice of fruit) in yogurt
Place in freezer for one hour
Avocado Corn Salad
One pound cherry tomatoes, halved
One bag frozen corn
Two avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
½ red onion (medium), thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped (½ small bunch)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large salad bowl, combine sliced tomatoes, corn kernels, sliced avocado, thinly-sliced red onion and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Press in two garlic cloves.
Drizzle the top with two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, two to three tablespoons lime juice, adding to taste. Add one teaspoon sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or season to taste. Toss the salad gently until combined and serve.
Items marked with an asterisk* are available through Monongalia County Health Department WIC. Please call 304-598-5181 for more information.