Back to school season can be a very stressful time for parents, especially when it comes to meal planning. Parents want to ensure that their children are eating a healthy, well-balanced meal they’ll enjoy and look forward to, especially when it comes to lunch. Registered dietitian and children’s cookbook author, Jessica Fishman Levinson MS, RDN CDN is also a mother of twin girls and knows what it means to juggle the hustle and bustle of back to school season and meal planning. She was kind enough to join me for an interview yesterday to share delicious heart-healthy protein-packed sandwich recipes that your kids will adore, and you’ll enjoy too!
Candace Rose: With back to school season nearly officially here, do you have any meal planning tips for parents?
Jessica Fishman Levinson: “I sure do. I teamed up with Land O’Frost and they have a line of lunch meats called Simply Delicious, which is American Heart Association Certified heart healthy. What I love about them is that they’re lower in sodium than most lunch meats. Lunch meats are great for packing kids lunches for back to school, so we want something that’s nutritious.
We made some sandwiches here that have the lunch meats in them (please see video above for details).
The roast beef pita pocket is a Mediterranean roast beef pita pocket! It has hummus, cucumbers, shredded carrots, and grape tomatoes. It has two ounces of the Simply Delicious roast beef which is about six slices, so it’s a really nice serving and the half a pita pocket is 220 calories and 17 grams of protein. It’s a good portion size, a nice amount of protein to keep the kids satiated. You can pair it with a side of fruit or more vegetables depending on what your kids like.
We also have a take on a ham and cheese sandwich. Again, changing up the sandwich exterior (the bread) using an English muffin and choosing whole grains when you can, as often as you can. This has the black forest ham, some cheese and some spinach which has a nice crunch and adds to color, of course color means nutrition. It has mustard or light mayonnaise depending on what your kids like. Again, serving it with a side of vegetables.
This last one is really fun, it’s a berry turkey sandwich. It’s whole wheat bread, light whipped cream cheese and the Simply Delicious honey roasted turkey breast, and fresh strawberries which adds a really flavor and some juiciness. It’s a nice little surprise for the kids to have the fruit in there.”
Candace Rose: How important is extra lean protein in one’s diet?
Jessica Fishman Levinson: “There’s two elements there, one is the extra lean, so we’re talking about the fat and we want to keep the fat, especially saturated fat low, that’s what keeps it heart healthy.
The protein is what keeps kids satisfied and satiated throughout the day. You really need that protein to keep the energy levels stable, to keep the blood sugar levels stable to keep the kids focused in school and for their sports and other activities that they have.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information that you’d like to share with us?
Jessica Fishman Levinson: “Head on over to Landomoms.com, there are all these recipes there, as well as nutrition information and more resources and other recipes for you.”