Sunday Savers – Save the Lunchtime Struggle
This is a long post. And if your kid is as picky an eater as mine is, you’ll want me to get straight to it. So commence I shall, without further quips, stories, sarcastic one-liners or anything like I usually do. A drumroll, please.
The Top 10 ways to pack a healthy lunch for your kid…God speed, fellow lunch ladies and gents. Your fight is a good one.
1. Count 1-2-3
Healthy lunches are as easy as one, two, three, as long as you include three food groups. This ensures balanced and complex nutrition for growing bodies. Assemble the perfect sandwich—whole grain bread for carbs, lean turkey for protein, and cheese or filler vegetables like cucumber slices, lettuce or thinly sliced carrots.
2. Color Their World
When it comes to an enticing colorwheel, brown is boring and white is less than wonderful. For a rainbow of nutrition, try colored rollups rather than bread, or make a fun pasta salad with tri-color rotini and different veggies (think cherry tomatoes, chunks of asparagus, diced carrots).
3. Take Shape
Hearts, stars, animals—cookie cutters can be for more than cookies. Turn so-so sandwiches into exiting shapes. Also perfect for tiny fingers that might have trouble navigating a full-sized slice. Lunch Punch (seen above) makes cute sandwich stamps.
4. Make Food Fun
You could just give them plain baby carrots and hope they eat them. Or try celery sticks with cream cheese and raisins and call them ‘ants on a log’ for fun.” Up the ante with “banana coins”—sliced bananas with dollops of peanut butter on top and a dried cranberry in the center.
5. Ditch the Deli
Sometimes a turkey sandwich just won’t cut it. Change things up with a healthy mixed salad full of lean, clean protein, such as tuna, egg or chicken salads.
6. Skip the Prepackaged
Easier isn’t always better. Prepackaged usually means higher sodium, sugars and processed ingredients, not higher nutritional value. Alternate applesauce, yogurts and fruit cups rather than reaching for the prepackaged desserts.
7. Give Them the Power
Take a trip to the grocery store with your kids and have them pick out their lunch foods. Increasing their investment in the foods increases the chance they’ll try it. Engaging your child by preparing their lunch with them the night before also helps.
8. Little Dippers
The pool isn’t the only place for a dip this summer. Cut up apples for dipping in yogurt, carrots for hummus, tuna salad with crackers. Call it the audience participation part of the show.
9. New Twists on Old Faves
Bag the old PB&J. They’ll go nuts over other types of spreads like almond, sunflower seed, or soy nut butters. Use all-fruit spreads (no added sugar) on whole wheat for the most bang-for-the-bread.
10. Small Lunches for Small Kids
Don’t try to pack everything into one lunch. Keeping portions small and not too overwhelming.