It’s hard to believe summer is over and school is back in session, but along with homework and sports practice, packing lunches is one more thing you can add to your daily agenda. As a mom, I know how difficult it can be to create lunches that are healthy and will be something your child will eat (translation: won’t end up in the school trashcan!). I also think this is an even bigger challenge for moms of elementary school-aged kids since that group is still developing their tastes and can tend to be a bit picky about certain foods.
Since social media is part of my job, I’ve become quite familiar with Pinterest over the past few months and I’ve seen some very interesting photos of lunch ideas that got me thinking about healthy versions specifically for kids. Start with the basic idea of a “bento box,” which is a box-shaped container with different sized compartments for various food items. I think the key to successfully getting kids to eat their lunch is to keep them interested in what their eating–a bunch of different items in small portions are is way to accomplish this. Your child will almost feel like he’s snacking, but all these “snacks” will provide him with a well-balanced meal. Here are some options you could pack in your child’s box:
- Baby carrots or grape tomatoes & a small container of low-fat ranch dip
- Dried fruit & nut mix
- String cheese & grapes
- Whole grain crackers with peanut butter
- Turkey breast or ham with cheese “roll-ups” on whole grain tortillas (rolled and then sliced into pinwheels)
- Celery sticks with low-fat cream cheese
- Fruit cup or applesauce
Try to add fun touches as well such as a little note or a silly sticker. Use a cookie cutter to create fun shapes out of melon slices or a peanut butter and banana sandwichon whole grain bread. The more appealing you make your child’s lunch look, the more he’s going to want to eat it. Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a few more back-to-school ideas you may find help you get settled in to the new school year. With a little effort your child’s lunch will look so good he won’t even realize it’s also good for him!