With back to school being one of the busiest times of the year for parents, many of us are just now thinking about what to pack for school lunch! While the summer is usually relaxed when it comes to lunchtime, this is the time that many of us seek healthy lunch ideas that bring the most nutrition into our kiddo’s bodies.
One of the big topics of discussion among the parents in my community is probiotics and how to get our kids to get more of them. So much so, that I wrote a blog post on the Top 10 Probiotic Foods on this blog.
The next question I received from my audience is creating lunches with said foods so that they can pack healthy school lunches for their kids that have probiotics built in!
So today, I’m sharing how to incorporate those best probiotic foods into lunches that kids will love.
In case this is your first time here, a little bit about why you should include probiotics in lunches.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria beneficial to our digestive system and overall health.
Wait. Bacteria that’s good for you? Yes!
There are two types of bacteria- good and bad. Probiotics are known as the good bacteria that helps our bodies digest food, destroy harmful bacteria, and process vitamins.
Benefits of Probiotics for Kids
Probiotics aren’t beneficial only to adults; research has shown that kids also reap numerous health benefits. Here are common challenges that probiotics for kids can help with:
- Common allergies
- Upset stomach
- Poor immune system
While consuming probiotic-rich foods is a great start it’s often not enough and that’s why people don’t often experience the same measurable improvements in overall and gut health as they would with a supplement.
Unfortunately, most kids have a problem with swallowing pills or “icky” drink mixes and many probiotic supplements are high in sugar and it’s like eating candy. And many kids that suffer from digestive issues also have yeast issues… and sugar feeds candida… it’s a vicious cycle.
In my previous post, I shared why Lava Rox is my go-to probiotic supplement for my kids. Lava Rox have a lot of benefits to offer with a kid-friendly probiotic supplement in the form of fizzy, candy-rocks. They are lab-tested, top-quality, and completely sugar-free, taste like cherry, and not to mention super fun for the kids to take!
Now, if you were to pair probiotic-rich foods with a quality supplement…imagine the significant difference you and your kids could experience!
Best Probiotic Foods
I know I just shot down your hopes of providing your child’s daily dose of probiotics with a single yogurt, but don’t feel discouraged. Many foods containing probiotics do help our gut health and pack other essential vitamins and nutrients.
If you were to pair probiotic-rich foods with a quality supplement, NOW we’re talking business. So let’s take a look at the best sources of probiotics for digestive health:
To reap the full benefits, choose yogurt that doesn’t contain added sugars or artificial ingredients. To sweeten, stir with honey, also rich in probiotics, and fresh fruit.
Swap the usual juice or sports drink for kefir in your child’s lunch bag. You’ll find kefir in a variety of kid-approved flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, and chocolate.
You know it as the classic Rueben ingredient, but it’s also a great source of probiotics and vitamins C, B, and K. Serve it on top hot dogs, tossed in a salad, or rolled inside deli meats.
This fermented, probiotic drink is known to improve digestion. It’s made with SCOBY, a colony of live bacteria and yeast, tea, and sugar to create a fermented, fizzy drink.
Like all fermented beverages, kombucha is slightly alcoholic. Make sure to check the label before handing to kids since some versions contain more alcohol than others.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This fermented liquid is widely known and used for everything from alkalizing the body to blemish control. No, it doesn’t taste amazing, but the benefits are all there.
For kids, you’ll have better luck mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons with 8 ounces of juice using it to make a vinaigrette for a side salad.
Only fermented varieties such as Gouda, Swiss, Cheddar, and Parmesan cheese contain probiotics. Thankfully, you don’t have to do a lot of convincing with the kids.
Another cheese that contains friendly bacteria and it’s packed with protein. Serve it with fresh fruit for breakfast or a quick snack.
Not just any pickle will do, make sure you choose a variety that’s brined with saltwater, not vinegar, which inhibits the growth of healthy bacteria.
Toss them into a wrap, stir chopped pickles into a tuna salad, or serve them as a side in a bento-style lunch.
Like pickles, olive brined in saltwater contains a good source of probiotics. Toss them into pasta salads, wraps, or over hummus with celery for a quick mid-day snack.
It’s also worth mentioning to make sure the foods you are buying contains live cultures, which you can often find on the package label.
Probiotic Lunch Foods for Kids
Okay, so now you know the best probiotic foods, let’s focus on the ones most kids will actually eat:
Need ideas on how to pack these into school lunches you kids will enjoy? I got you covered with these lunches below:
Yogurt & Fruit Parfait
Top this parfait with granola for a protein and probiotic packed lunch. Change it up by swapping the blueberries and strawberries with your fruit of choice.
Apple Grilled Cheese
If your kids are a fan of the cheese/apple combo, then you’ve got to try this epic grilled cheese! Of course, you can always leave out the apples but be sure to make it with Swiss or Gouda.
Charcuterie Lunch Box
Pack this Charcuterie board’s probiotic-rich foods like cheese, pickles, and olives into a bento-style lunch with whole-grain crackers and fruit for extra fiber!
Triple Berry Smoothie
Smoothies make a refreshing treat for the lunchbox and much like yogurt, pack it into a chilled thermos container for best results. Up the ante on this recipe by using Greek yogurt or kefir.
The classic Reuben sandwich consisting of roast beef, sauerkraut, and cheese reinvented into a fun-to-eat and delicious bite sized lunch! For bigger appetites, turn this into a wrap.
The cheese and apple combo is also great in a tortilla and highly recommended with Gouda! Want a quicker fix? Try the Ham & Cheese Apple Wraps.
A healthy diet of foods rich in probiotics and supplements like Lava Rox can be very beneficial for kids. Probiotics support the growth of healthy bacterial growth and boost the immune system.
Before introducing Lava Rox into your child’s diet, however, speak with their pediatrician to figure out if probiotics are right for them. Once you’ve been given the green light, use this list of foods and Lava Rox for kids as your starting point.
Probiotic Lunch Idea – Reuben Pinwheels
- 2 10- inch flour tortillas
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup sauerkraut
- 6 slices deli roast beef
- 2 slices Swiss cheese, halved
- Spread the mayonnaise and mustard over each tortilla. Top each tortilla with sauerkraut, roast beef, and cheese.
- Starting at one edge, tightly roll the tortilla. Slice into 1-inch rounds and pack into lunch containers.