By Elena Doxey
Back to school means back to basics, and that means planning and shopping for school lunches. While it might seem next to impossible, trying to get kids to eat healthy may be easier than you think. This month, we’re thinking outside the proverbial school lunch box and sharing some fun and healthy kids lunch ideas that will have your kids asking for more.
The Tricked-Out Sandwich
Let’s face it: kids get bored easily seeing the same old sandwich in their lunchbox day after day. Want to make their sandwich more fun? Try switching up the bread by using things like pitas, wraps, ciabatta, bagels, crackers and whole-wheat raisin bread.
If you really want to surprise them, try making their sandwich with homemade whole grain waffles made without sugar. Sugar-less waffles are savory, so they can essentially be used as a bread replacement, while being much more fun! They’re easy to freeze, so try making a few at a time, and use them over the course of a few weeks.
To round out a sandwich, make sure to pack in the vegetables. Try shredding veggies or adding something crunchy like cucumbers, carrots, pickles, or even organic baked potato chips. to make the sandwich more satisfying.
Try these recipes:
- Ciabatta bread with Brie, ham and apple slices
- Green spinach or red sundried tomato wraps, filled with cream cheese or hummus, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and sprouts
Before you say, “yeah right,” to your child eating a salad for school lunch, try some of these delicious and nutritious ideas. For kid-pleasing lunches, try salads based on protein or whole grains and veggies. Egg, tuna and ham salads make perfect sandwich, wrap and pita fillers or standalone meals. Salads based on quinoa, whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta, couscous, brown rice or barley can be enhanced with vegetables, beans, lean meat and/or chunked cheese.
Easy-to-make pasta salads also make for a healthy kid’s lunch idea. Try adding simple vegetables like celery, scallion and frozen peas.
Getting creative with colors, shapes and textures can help with having your kids try new foods. Experts suggest mixing a few of your child’s all-time favorite foods together in a salad to promote variety and a new way to enjoy what they love.
The dressing can make or break or a salad. Lemon juice and olive oil work well on grain-based salads; whereas, creamy dressings are a delicious partner of protein salads.
Try these recipes:
Have you ever come home to see a half-eaten sandwich in your child’s school lunchbox? Most kids will tell you they don’t have enough time at lunch to finish their meals. That’s where all-in-one meals come into play as an easy way to pack in some serious nutrition with a fun presentation.
All-in-one meals like mini-quiches and or protein muffins are easy to freeze and pop into lunchboxes. Plus, they are manageable for little hands and their muffin shape makes them fun to eat!
Try these recipes:
Bento Box Lunches
These bento-style lunchboxes are inspired by the single-portion bento containers used in Japan. They are a fun and convenient way to manage portion control while offering your child a nutritious variety of foods. Bentology is the company behind these kid-friendly lunchboxes. These boxes encourage healthy eating while keeping your foods fresh and all in one place. Kids find these boxes cool, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing what they’re eating and how much.
Pick-Your-Own School Lunch Stations
This do-it-yourself lunch station is a clever way of teaching kids how to make healthy choices while giving them the freedom to choose foods from each food group. Meal-prepping nutritious foods not only gets kids involved but also helps you control what they are eating.
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