If you’re a parent of school-age children, the time has rolled around once more to start packing lunches. Finding creative ways to entice your kids to eat what you pack is a challenge for all parents. Just as we would get bored eating the same food every day, so too will our kids. It’s important to offer them a variety of interesting foods, but it can be tough to constantly come up with new ideas.
Keep in mind the following tips while gearing up for another school year. These ideas will help streamline your lunch-packing process:
- Store all of your lunch materials and containers together. Designate a large drawer, cupboard shelf or section of your pantry solely to boxes, containers, bags, clips, plastic utensils, juice boxes, etc. so that you (and your kids) always know exactly where to look when packing lunch. This can save you valuable time, especially when you’re running late or feeling sluggish.
- Have your kids bring home food that they don’t eat. Explain to your children that they won’t be punished for not eating something, but that you want to get an idea for what they like and don’t like. This will help you to decide what items to continue packing. Sending food that you wish they would eat (but that they really don’t like) doesn’t do anyone any good.
Here are some ideas that will help you spice up your children’s lunches without being ultra time-consuming to pack:
- Wraps – Kids love playing with their food and this is the perfect way to let them do just that while also eating something they love! By using a Bento-style food box with divided spaces, you can pack wraps or tortillas in one section and the “insides” of the wrap in the other sections. Deli meat, cheese, spinach and sliced veggies and fruits all make excellent healthy wrap ideas for kids.
- Dips – Who doesn’t love dipping sauces? They’re delicious, and they can be an excellent way to entice your children to eat vegetables. Hummus is also packed with protein, and goes well with just about any crunchy veggies. If your child isn’t a fan of hummus, try ranch dressing and broccoli. Throw in some grapes or apple slices and a square of chocolate for a sweet ending to this yummy lunch.
- Breakfast – If your family loves to indulge in a big breakfast on the weekends, make good use of the leftovers by packing them for lunches. Pancakes are great served cold, as is bacon and sausage. Eggs are best served hard boiled for lunch. This meal pairs perfectly with orange slices and yogurt.
- Sandwiches with a twist – Let’s face it: regular sandwiches can get boring. Mix it up a little by changing out the bread with something different. Apple slices work great, and they taste delicious with peanut butter. Another way to pair apples and peanut butter is in a wrap. Include the wrap separately as mentioned above. In different containers or compartments, place peanut butter and diced apple pieces. Your child can mix the apples and peanut butter into a yummy spread to place on their tortillas!