When it comes to packing lunches for your kids, it can be an uphill battle. Crafting a meal that will stay fresh, doesn’t need reheating AND your kids will eat? That’s a tall order.
Here are our ideas on what and how to pack a healthy lunch that your kids will enjoy.
- Whole Grain (choose 1):
bread (at least 4grams fiber per slice), waffles, pasta, tortillas
- Fruit AND Veggie (choose at least 1 of each. Focus on fresh or frozen):
berries (strawberries, raspberries, blue or black), grapes, bananas, apples, pears, melons, pineapple, peaches, orange slices, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery sticks, avocado slices, broccoli. If the skin of the produce is being eaten, shoot for the organic variety.
- PROTEIN (choose 1 for lunch and 1 for snack):
beans, yogurt, cheese, deli meat, hard boiled eggs, tofu, quinoa, chia seed pudding, tuna, nut butter, almonds
- Dips (add 1 to make fruits and veggies more exciting!):
yogurt, hummus, nut butters, honey, light ranch dressing
Packing a frozen water bottle can help keep lunches cold and when thawed by lunch, keep kids hydrated. If your child insists on juice, make sure it’s 100% real fruit juice.
Skip the sweet treats and save those for them to enjoy at home. Instead pop in a love note for the teacher to read to your child.
Pack it Up:
Cut sandwiches, cheese slices and fruits and veggies into fun shapes. Stars, circles, squares or even using cookie cutters makes even the most boring food fun!
Use lollipop / cake pop sticks (anything without a pointed end) to stack up grapes, blueberries, banana slices, cheese cubes, deli meat slices and or tomatoes. Keep one type of produce per stick or create a pattern with several pieces of fruits or veggies.
Sometimes compilations of food can be overwhelming. Textures and colors mixed together might not be appealing. Using cupcake cups, separate individual parts of a meal. Protein in one, dairy in another, fruits and veggies – you get the idea. The point is to break everything into its own group and let your child choose the order they want to eat it in.
- Roll it up
Sandwiches ingredients can be tough for even adults to keep together. Use a bottle to roll out bread into flat, soft pieces or use a tortilla. Pile it high with protein and veggies then roll and slice short ways to create easy to manage pinwheels of lunch. Lunch meat and cheese, nut butter and banana, hummus and beans – the options are endless for roll up wraps!
- Get Your Kids Involved
Asking your child to help you make their lunch can entice them to eat what they pack. If they are getting to make choices about which fruit gets packed or how the vegetables are stored, they will be more willing to try them out.