School Lunches: How to Make Them Healthy and Fun
How to ensure that your child's lunch is traded for and not traded! Easy and fun ways to jazz up those boring school lunches.
Lunch Time Grind: Improving the Brown Bag
Do you ever wonder if your child really eats the lunch that you pack for him? Is your child tired of the same sandwich that you pack for him each day? Do you think that the only way to get your child to eat his lunch is to fill the lunch box with sugar sweet treats? Here are some ways that you can ensure that not only is your child eating the lunch that you have packed, but that it is healthy and may even be one that others want to get their hands on!
Make Kids' Lunch Containers Fun
What is the first thing that gets noticed at lunch? The container of course. And while you shouldn't judge a lunch by it's bag, some kids do. So how can you get kids to want to see that what's on the inside is even better than the outside? Give that lunch bag a makeover. You have a few cholces to make this a hit. If your child does not have a plastic or metal lunch box that he take each day, spice up the paper bag with a few extras.
Stores sell pre-designed paper bags that have a well known character on them. Change things up a little bit and use one of these to add a little kick to lunch time.
Decorate the bag with stickers. If it is Valentine's Day, adorn the bag with heart stickers. If it Halloween cover that bag with ghosts, bat, and pumpkins.
I am no artist. I have never been one and have never claimed to be one. But I can tell yo one thing that if you draw a picture of something, anything, flowers, a happy face, whatever moves you, it will be appreciated by your child and envied by others!
Kid Friendly Sandwiches
Most kids like sandwiches. Often times parents want to stick with something that is easy and that they know that kids will eat. But just like adults, kids get bored with the same thing every single day. So how can you make sandwiches more exciting? It's easier than you think.
Even if your child will not eat anything else but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, there is something really cool about eating one that is in the shape of a star or a heart. Simply make the sandwich as you normally would and then use any shape cookie cutter to "cut out" the sandwich into your desired shape.
Triple Decker Sandwiches
Choose your favorite sandwich fixings and layer them up. For example, if you were to take a regular ham and cheese sandwich, add an extra slice of bread to make it restaurant style. Take one slice of bread and place cheese and any vegies on it, then another slice of bread and place ham, follow that with another slice of bread with your favorite condiments. Slice it in fourths and stick a tooth pick in it. Your child will think that he is out to lunch!
Wrap it Up
Using a tortilla or a lavash wrap and spread an even layer of cream cheese on the tortilla. Layer it with your choice of meat, cheese, and any veggies that you know your child will like such as lettuce, pepper or cucumber slices and then roll it. Start at one end and roll it evenly until you reach the other side. Then cut the ends off of each side to make them even. Continue by cutting the wrap into slices that are about one inch in thickness. Pinwheel wraps that your child will devour!
Food on a Stick
Food on a stick, what could be more fun? All food is more fun when it's eaten on a stick! Use wooden or plastic skewers to encourage kids to use their hands while eating. Here are some fun ways to put healthy food on a stick.
You still want to make sure that your child is eating healthy so why not take those sandwich components apart and stick it, literally. Put chunks of meat (ham, turkey, or bologna) along with chunks of cheese and apple or pear pieces. You would be surprised at how fast that food will disappear, and not to the garbage!
This is the same concept only you fill the skewers with a variety of fruits. Choose those that are in season for you but make sure that they are not too soft and will fall off. Great options are apples, pears, pineapple, and firm peaches or plums.
Put a Note in Your Child's Lunch
When I was growing up my mom used to put little notes in my lunch. They could be just the words "I love you" or something more specific like "Good luck on your science test." It's a great way to show your child that even though he is not with you at the moment, you are still thinking about him.
Healthy Dessert Options
Desert is not a must in a child's lunch. I encourage healthy eating so I am not one to just put a bag of cookies in the lunch and call it good. Instead try some of these ideas to make the treat at the end fun.
Chocolate Covered Fruit
You can dipped dried fruit of your choice in chocolate ahead of time and keep it sealed in an airtight container. Add these to your child's lunch for a sweet treat with a little bit of healthiness added underneath.
Chocolate Covered Nuts
We know that nuts are a great source of protein. Kids will love to eat up those nuts with a little chocolate added to them.
In a plastic bag add a mix of mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and some graham cracker cereal. Your kids won't know what hit them. They will think that they are the kings of the lunchroom with a treat like that!
Be careful if you decide to incorporate any of these changes into your child's lunch. It may cause him to beg you for more. In fact, you may even get some phone calls from other parents asking you what in the world you are doing that is causing other children to talk about your child's lunch!