Whether your school has a provided lunch option or not, you may find yourself packing a lunch this school year, because sometimes little taste buds can be picky! How do you keep those lunch boxes and bellies full without losing your mind? We’ve got some great ideas to help with those packed lunch blues:
This is easier than it sounds! Use cookie cutters to create shapes of food. Cut apples width wise to create circles that can then have shapes cut out. Use small starts to shape cucumber slices. Make sandwiches extra special by making heart shapes. Cheese, fruits and veggies, nearly anything can be shaped into something fun.
In addition, spice up the packaging. Use a bento box to separate items and food groups. Or even an ice cube tray to split up foods. Sometimes the simple act of making it visually separated, can make it extra appealing.
If your littles are turning their noses up at the standard sandwich, break it up. Keep all ingredients separate; bread, cheese, protein and veggetable. Let them assemble, or keep it all separate. Or if sandwiches aren’t their bag, create bites from each food group instead of combining them all into one item. Have protein (meat, beans, and or cheese), fruit, veggetable, grain, dairy – don’t worry about it making sense. Focus on providing foods they like from each category.
One of the best ways to get little tummies interested in new foods, is to let them create them! With some supervision, let them create their own lunches, keeping food groups in mind. If they’re not thrilled with a particular food group, ask them to choose one thing they are interested in trying and ask them to take a “no thank you” bite. That’s it, just one bite and they don’t have to have any more. Consistent exposure to foods coupled with a no pressure attitude will encourage them to keep trying until one day they might decide they like it!
Tired of the same old lunch fair? Mix it up with some unexpected items. Get a small thermos and fill it with hot foods in the morning. Quesadilla bites, chicken nuggets, even buttered noodles keep well in a thermos. Sometimes a little change to the usual is all little tummies need to chow down.
Need some more lunch ideas? Check out our blog Healthy Lunch and Snack Ideas and How to Get Your Kids to Eat Them.