Bagged lunches, we all remember them, and we all always wanted someone else’s. Today, with childhood obesity on the rise, it is even more important to be packing healthy lunches for our children. The challenge will always be: how do we get them to actually eat it and enjoy it? We realize if you place a doughnut and a carrot in front of a kid, 9 times out of 10 they are going to grab the doughnut, heck, most of us would too. However, by making a few simple changes to the typical lunch you send your child off with, you can completely change the way they view their food. Making lunch’s fun and different will keep kids interested in what you are packing them, not what their classmate has at the table next to him. Packing lunches also has many benefits for your child. You are essentially able to control the foods that your child will consume, you can give them healthier lunches than what is often offered at schools, not to mention, a homemade lunch shows you child that you took the time to care about what they are eating.

We have created some fun and easy ways to make your child’s lunch more fun and exciting so that they will actually want to eat it.

#1: Instead of just making a sandwich, we recommend using a cookie cutter to create a fun shape. It’s a simple and visually appealing way to make a lunch more fun.

#2: Make a fun and healthy dip to accompany veggies or fruits. For example, make a yogurt, lemon, and dill dip for celery. Its low in fat and high in flavor, you kids will love to dip regular veggies into something yummy. For a fun fruit dip, take unsalted almond butter and mix it with honey. This is high in protein and will taste great with apples. Kids will also love the sweetness of the honey.

#3: Slip a nice note in. We aren’t talking an overly sentimental love note, but a fun and age appropriate note. Not only is it a nice reminder that someone who cares about you made a nice lunch to enjoy, it also is unexpected!

#4: Throw in a healthy snack for later. We all remember getting hungry right after school. Leave something extra so to help combat the after school hunger! We love leaving a granola bar, some trail mix, or even dried fruit. Make sure you pack something that will be filling enough to hold them over  while not making them too full until dinner.

#5: Get a cool lunch box. Save the environment from brown bag use and pick out a cool lunch box! There are so many styles and options now, the choices are endless. If you have a picky child, don’t give up if you don’t find one in a store, check online. There are a lot of neat vintage lunchboxes as well as trendy ones to choose from. Amazon is a great site to start!

#6: Don’t always stick to sandwiches! Try changing things up with salad, pasta salad or a potato salad. Both hold well and can be made ahead of time. Keeping a variety in your child’s lunch will make it less predictable and therefore less boring. We all know it’s bad to let kids get bored!

#7: Leftovers. Don’t panic, we aren’t talking the food you had to force feed your child from last night, but if you served something your child especially liked, give it to them for lunch the next day. Not only is it economical, but you already know your child will eat it. A win-win if you ask us.

#8: Go multinational! Try serving different ethnic foods such as a burrito, stir fry, or your favorite heritage’s cuisine. Nothing will spice up a lunch more than a favorite dish. Plus, it again breaks the sandwich streak!

#9: If you want to hit a child’s sweet tooth, we recommend giving them a small portion of something sweet and keeping it as healthy as you can. For example, chocolate covered nuts or fruit, yogurt covered pretzels, or peanut butter and honey on crackers. The last thing you want is to send your child back to class on sugar high (and the inevitable crash), and these snacks will give them the sugar, without the high.

#10: Give them a fun napkin! Get some unique printed napkins to include with their lunch. It’s a pop of color and will be visually stimulating.

We know packing lunches can become tedious, but with these tricks you can keep lunches new and exciting. By making simple and healthy lunches, you are keeping the stress of your child eating good foods out of your life. Most importantly you can do all this without much effort!

 

image v