Fun, Easy, and Nutritious Lunches Kids Will Eat
Every kid no matter how old or young loves a fun, playful and tasty lunch. Create a healthy meal your kids will eat and others will envy. Allow your child to help select their lunch box and plan their lunch menu. It’s a great way to start a conversation about healthy eating habits and the importance of nutritious food.
First start off with a good insulated lunch bag. The best lunch kits have a thermos for hot and cold items, room for a cold pack and a drink, plus a compartment for food. .
Before you pack their lunch put in a hand sanitizer wipe and teach your child to use it before eating. This can help prevent your child picking up colds and flu from others at school. You may also want to include a little note that lets your child know you are thinking of them during the time they are away at school or daycare.
Second give your child some choice on what food items to include. The US Department of Agriculture has a great website for kids to learn about nutrition and the food pyramid: www.mypyramid.gov. The site also has free games and resources to help parents teach their children about healthy food choices.
Baby carrots, cut celery, grape tomatoes, sugar pea pods, sliced cucumber or zucchini and other finger size veggies are a good place to start. You might even want to offer your child a small container of salad dressing for dipping their veggies.
For a drink you can include a juice box, bottled water, aseptic boxed milk or some other healthy option. A bag with crackers or pretzels, an individually wrapped cheese stick or some peanut butter provides healthy sources of energy for their afternoon too.
Sandwiches can be any variety of fillings, breads or wraps. Just make sure to keep food cold with a reusable ice pack. For variety try cutting triangles, squares, or slice a wrap sandwich into bite-size circles. Try spreading a flour tortilla with cream cheese then add ham and sliced green pepper. Roll and slice in thirds.
For dessert offer fruit such as grapes, bananas, apple slices or orange sections. Include fruit flavored yogurt as a dip. Another good option is a trail mix of nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.
For variety pack some soup in their thermos, or give them lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs instead. You may even want to offer them sliced chicken breast with a salad and dressing on the side. Remember to pack spoons, forks and a napkin too.
School lunches don’t have to be the standard PB&J, apple and milk. Of course if that’s what your child wants to eat day after day that’s fine, but variety encourages kids to try new things and eat a variety of different foods. Take a little time to plan and your child will have a lunch that is the envy of every kid in school.