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School Lunches: How to Make Them Healthy and Fun

Updated on August 1, 2012

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!

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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.

Characters

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.

Stickers

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.

Drawings

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!

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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.

Cookie Cutters

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!

Cutting the fruit in cubes ahead of time makes assembling easier.
Cutting the fruit in cubes ahead of time makes assembling easier. | Source
Fruit Kebobs
Fruit Kebobs | Source
Yummy!
Yummy! | Source

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.

Decomposed Sandwich

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!

Fruit Kebobs

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.

Sm'ores

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!

**CAUTION**

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!

April Hub Challenge #8 out of 30
April Hub Challenge #8 out of 30 | Source

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    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Katya. My kids won't be in school and needing a lunch for a few years either but some of these are fun to make at home too! Feel free to bookmark it for future reference and share it with friends or family who may find it useful now. :)

    • Katya Drake profile image

      Katya Drake 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I really loved this article. So many good ideas for their lunches!! I especially love the dessert ideas. They are yummy but pretty healthy too. My little ones are not going to be in school for a couple years but I look forward to using the advice you gave here.

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Randomcreative. I always try to make things a little more interesting for my kids. Why not do it for food? I bring my lunch to school too and will probably do the same for my kids when they are in school full time. Thanks for the comments!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great hub! I always took my own lunch to school, both as a student and a teacher. I plan to pack lots of homemade lunches for my own kids someday, too. These are all excellent suggestions for making healthy lunches more fun!

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Simone, glad you enjoyed it! Yes, my poor children are not only my guinea pigs but also my models! :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      These are such excellent tips, and I love the photos, too! Voted up!

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      You know he'd come over and put fruit on a stick for you, he'd probably even feed it to you! Glad you liked it!

      Annmackiemiller, I agree. I'll take healthy eating over junk any day (well MOST days!) Thanks for the vote and share!

      Genna, I appreciate the feedback and vote up. I am all about healthy eating, especially for my kids. I feel that if you start early then it is just natural for them.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I really liked this hub! Not only is it creative with wonderful tips and ideas, it also stresses healthy eating for our children. Voted up. :)

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 

      7 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      I'd swap! Great hub. Thumbs up and shared on facebook :0)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Or--have them wear their pig snouts and NOT use their hands. LOL

      Seriously, great hub. My old standby from Grampa was bologne and ketchup on white bread. To this day I do not like that.

      YOur hub was useful, helpful, funny and provided wonderful tips on creative brown bagging for kids. And, the photos were very inviting. Do you think that little boy will come to my house and put fruit on a stick for me to eat?

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks! The kids love anything that is fun and that they can use their hands with.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Loved the ending so I voted it funny AND up overall. Good tips here. I used to put cut fruit pieces on short bamboo skewers and set them out for dinner. It was a fun way to get the kids to eat fruit. I used toothpicks or plastic party picks for their lunches.

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