Introducing color and creativity when preparing school lunches can be a great way to make sure your children look forward to what you have packed in their lunch boxes for this important mid-day meal. Here are a few ideas to help you make school lunches fun:
Look for Colorful Lunch Boxes
Colorful lunch containers can help keep food looking and tasting fresh. Reusable containers are an eco-friendly option, too, because they create less waste than throw-away baggies or aluminum foil, and can save you money on supplies.
Jazz up Peanut Butter
Peanut butter and jelly is a staple in most households, but try mixing the combinations, such as peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter for nut-free schools) with honey and banana, or with raspberry jam. Substitute whole grain sliced bread or pita bread for regular white bread.
If They Build It, They Will Eat
Encourage participation, creativity and an interest in food by having your kids help you to make lunch box food, such as puffed-rice squares for dessert or fruit skewers on toothpicks. When packing lunches, provide the individual parts of a sandwich instead of one that’s already put together. Your child can take deli slices, cheese, lettuce and bread and build their own fresh sandwich at school.
You’ve probably taught your children not to play with their food, but you may want to consider breaking the rules for their school lunch. Try using a cookie cutter to create a fun shape out of sandwich bread. You can save the leftover bread crusts in the freezer and use them later in other recipes. For your child, eating a plain sandwich is perfectly fine, but way more fun if it’s in the shape of a dinosaur or their favorite animal.
Get Your Children to Take the Plunge
Many kids love to dip their food, so sometimes include a dip as a snack. For example, provide carrots for dipping into hummus, chips for dipping into salsa, and sliced apples to dip into honey. Such healthy alternatives to pre-packaged snacks can be a delightful mid-afternoon snack.
Writing a note to your child can give him or her something to look forward to. Draw a picture, use stickers, or write a fun joke and then put it in the lunch box. A silly or sweet note will make your child smile and can be a nice reminder that you’re thinking about your child throughout your child’s busy day.