13 May, 2009
End the School Year with Easy, Healthy, and Yummy Pasta Salads
Posted by: Meg In: Lunchbox Ideas
Kids love pasta! And as the weather gets warm pasta salads are a great main dish for your kids lunch boxes. They are easy, with unlimited options, so pasta salads are top of my list for a good springtime lunch box.
Pasta comes in so many great shapes that kids enjoy… some of my favorite pasta shapes for kids include Farfalle (bow tie), Cavatappi (Corkscrew), and Conchiglie (Medium sized Shells). Fun shapes keep kids interested in food, and they are fun and appealing for grownups, too!
Whenever we cook pasta for our family, I always cook extra knowing that pasta can easily be converted into a huge array of other dishes. In the winter, leftover pasta usually ends up in a soup or a stir fry. This time of year, pasta salads are the destiny of our pasta leftovers. Since they are typically served at room temperature, they are a great main course for a lunch box!
For a kids lunch box, pasta salads offer a virtually endless supply of combinations so that you won’t get sick of packing the same thing all the time…. and more importantly your child will enjoy the fun diversity. Kids love to make their own pasta salads and cutting up the veggies is fun practice. Since pasta salads tend to get better after a day or two in the fridge, have them help make their pasta salads during the day or evening and not during the morning rush!
To begin, choose a fun shape that your child likes. From there, use some of the ideas on this list to create a pasta salad that your child will truly enjoy!
GREAT KIDS PASTA SALAD FOR A LUNCH BOX (or picnic, or lunch at home…).
Choose 1 or more ingredients from each bullet and you can create a great, well rounded meal for your lunchbox! Kids love to add and stir these ingredients, and they are a great way to use up leftovers.
- Cooked pasta — think fun shapes! At the grocery store, let your child pick their favorite shape in the pasta section.
- Veggies — any variety that your kid likes, cut into bite size pieces. Some great ones are: cucumber, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot, broccoli florets, peas, edamame, cauliflower, asparagus, corn, red or green peppers, green beans, zucchini, etc.
- Protein — cubed cheese (any variety), garbanzo beans, tofu cubes, walnuts, cooked chicken, etc.
- Dressing — olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, etc…. you really have to test your kids taste buds on this one!
- Seasoning — fresh herbs (for kids, try fresh mint and/or basil), salt, pepper, lemon juice, etc.
Pasta salads can be quite colorful, and when you incorporate fresh veggies and protein sources, a nutritious lunch box meal can be created with ease. Are there any favorite recipes you would care to share?