As most of our children have started school, it is important that we continue to provide nutritious meals and snacks for our kids throughout the year. Even though school lunches are available, they are not always the healthiest choice. Send a variety of foods from each food group: protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds to make sure your child is getting the nutrition they need.
- Make lunch fun! Buy cookie cutters in different shapes or holiday theme cutters to use on sandwiches. For example, cut out a fish for a tuna sandwich.
- Roll up deli meat and poke a pretzel stick through it to make it appear like a kabob.
- Create a theme each day, such as, “Power Pita” which could include 2 mini whole wheat pita pockets with chicken and veggies, ¾ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt with sliced strawberries, ½ cup sugar snap peas and 8 animal cookies.
- Serve their favorite leftover. You can take a leftover slice of pizza, cut it into bite size squares and it’s a new dish.
- Let them create their own combinations. For instance, send all the needed ingredients packed separately for them to create their own invention. Try bagel chips or crackers, pepperoni, shredded cheese or turkey, lettuce, shredded carrots and a dipping sauce like marinara or ranch.
- Check out new style lunch boxes that vary from your standard brown lunch bag or Ziploc. Some even include unique dividers.
- Send a little love from home by including a note to remind them how much you care.
- Make designs out of the food you send like PB&J flower blossoms or create a bike shape out of veggies. Use press and seal to keep the shape intact.
- Make your own snack mixes with the kids. Some ideas could include: pretzels, cashews, and dried cranberries; almonds, M&M’s, and dried mango; or granola, sunflower seeds, and dried apricots.
These are just some ideas to get your creative thoughts flowing. It can be difficult to get children to eat certain things at times, but if you include them in the preparation and make it fun, they might be more willing to try new things!