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List Of 5 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids Made Using an Air fryer

List Of 5 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids Made Using an Air fryer

List of Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids using an Air Fryer

An Air Fryer, for those who are unfamiliar, is a countertop kitchen appliance designed to crisp food without the use of oil or frying, making it the perfect choice for making healthy lunches (and dinners) for the kids.  

How does an Air Fryer work? 

Hot air is pushed down from the top of the unit which then circulates inside the device, cooking fresh or frozen items to a satisfyingly crunchy finish in minutes. Not using oil to either pan-fry or deepfry means healthier results! A traditional oven, gas or electric, takes time, as the element inside heats then bakes or roasts food.  

Quick cooking time, easy clean-up, more convenient than an outdoor grill, and not heating up the whole kitchen, are a few other reasons people love using an Air Fryer.  

Crispy Classics

Formerly forbidden lunch fare, those items found on the board of the local fast-food joint, can be reworked to be healthy while keeping the crispness and flavor kids crave.  

Veggie Nuggets

What is the very first thing that comes to mind when you think about making lunch for your child? Nuggets! Many parents feel good baking nuggets in the oven rather than buying the fast-food option from the drive-thru window. The Air Fryer is the perfect healthy upgrade for storebought frozen nuggets, either chicken or plantbased. Or, consider making your own veggie nuggets. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup each boiled or steamed tender carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, cooled 
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs for filling, plus extra for dipping formed nuggets in prior to cooking 
  • 1 large egg 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 400 F. 
  2. Combine vegetables¼ cup breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. 
  3. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to portion out the veggie mixture into a ball, then flatten into a nugget shape. 
  4. Coat nuggets with additional breadcrumbs. 
  5. Place in an Air Fryer basket in a single layer and cook for about 4 minutes per side. 
  6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Super Simple Sliders

Whether a full-size hamburger is simply too much food, or the idea of a mini burger is more appealing, Super Simple Sliders are the answer.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound of ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork 
  • Sliced American, Cheddar or Swiss cheese, if desired 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Slider rolls: Hawaiian style, dinner rolls, potato rolls, or brioche 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 400 F. 
  2. Combine meat with salt and pepper.  
  3. Scoop out approximately 1/4  cup and shape into small patty. 
  4. Place burgers in the Air Fryer (use the grill plate, if available) and cook approximately four minutes on the first side.  
  5. Once flipped, cook for an additional four minutes.  
  6. Add cheese if desired and cook for one more minute or until the cheese melts. 

Quick Quesadilla

Whether its filled with last night’s chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces, or hot, stretchy, cheesy goodness, a Quick Quesadilla sounds like a great healthy lunch for the kiddos (and the grown-ups). Remember, the Air Fryer cooks by using forced air which can cause light foods like the top tortilla shell to blow off. Try cooking under a wire rack to hold the quesadilla together. 

Ingredients: 

  • Two tortilla shells for each quesadilla 
  • 1/2 cup of shredded chicken (or beef, turkey, pork) 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese 
  • Guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa for dipping 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 350 F. 
  2. Assemble a quesadilla by placing filling on top of one tortilla shell then complete by placing a second shell on top. 
  3. Cook quesadilla in Air Fryer for 4 minutes per side. 
  4. Serve with guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. 

Classic Grilled Cheese

Ingredients: 

  • 2 slices of bread per sandwich (try heartier brown bread for texture or multigrain for added nutrients) 
  • 2 slices of cheese, such as classic American, Provolone, Mozzarella or Swiss 
  • Consider an extra filling, like sliced tomatoes, crispy bacon or ham 
  • A bit of butter to spread on the outside of the bread 

Directions: 

  1. Assemble each individual cheese sandwich by placing cheese and any optional fillings between the slices of bread. 
  2. Lightly butter the outside of the bread slices. 
  3. Place the sandwiches in the Air Fryer set at 350 degrees for 2 ½ minutes, flip, then continue cooking for 2 ½ minutes 

All these kidfriendly lunch ideas are just crying out for a fun and crispy side dish.  

Want Fries with That?

The Air Fryer really came into its own as families hunkered down during the pandemic and ordered tons of takeout with sides of French fries. It was quickly discovered, the best way to heat up or reheat fried potatoes is in an Air Fryer. 

In addition to simply heating up frozen French fries as a healthy side dish for any of the Crispy Classic lunch items, here are a few other ideas to try. 

CinnamonSugar Sweet Potato Fries

Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries are the perfect balance between healthy and decadent. These Air Fryer treats can be served as a snack or a side dish for savory lunches.  

Ingredients: 

  • One bag of frozen sweet potato fries 
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 400 F. 
  2. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set it aside. 
  3. Spread a single layer of fries on the basket and cook for about 7 minutes per side. 
  4. Remove sweet potato fries to a large bowl and toss with cinnamon sugar mixture to coat before serving. 

For a truly over-the-top condiment, consider this glazeturneddip recipe by combining 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar with a splash of milk or half-and-half, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to make a cinnamonbun style dip or glaze for the fries. 

Making a crispy, healthy lunch in minutes for the kids would have been a challenge just a few years ago. Today, with an Air Fryer, and a little bit of creativity, you can carve out some time to have a fulunch with the kids at your own kitchen table. Have a blast! 

About The Author

Sharon MacGregor

Writing from her desk in New York, Sharon MacGregor is a contributing reporter, freelance writer, and blogger with a passion for human interest stories as well as meals shared with friends and family. Her blog, Fed Well includes recipes with upcoming tips to prepare foods for infants and toddlers, simple and seasonal cocktails, and easy modifications to create dishes respecting dietary restrictions including dairy and gluten intolerances. She loves entertaining for the ones she loves including her new grandbabies!

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