Parents are sending their kids back to school and along with the 20 glue sticks and colored folders, will be a lunch made with love. You cross your fingers that your child’s lunch box won’t come back with just empty wrappers from the little cookie treat you included and the apple completely uneaten or that she won’t swap her yogurt for a pudding snack, but it always seems like a hit or miss. There are some easy recipes that you can use to help ensure that your child is eating a healthy lunch when not at home, with items they will hopefully never want to swap!
1. The Colorful Lunch — Use vegetable pasta (some stores carry varieties with four or more colors) to make a rainbow pasta salad. Use your child’s favorite vegetables and add cheese cubes and/or seasoned chicken for added flavor and protein. This can also be made into a tuna pasta salad if that’s what your child enjoys. Make a Mom and kiddie cooking day and mix up a large batch on Sunday for a few lunches throughout the week. Just scoop into a sealed container and don’t forget a colored plastic fork! Add a travel cup of her favorite juice blend or lemonade with a crazy straw for even more fun.
2. The Sampler Pack Lunch — Use mini sealable containers to pack up a couple of spoonfuls each of peanut butter (or a soy nut spread), hummus, and your child’s favorite dressing to dip with. In a larger separated container, include multi-grain crackers or pita chips, crunchy vegetables like celery, carrots, broccoli, and/or sweet bell peppers and a sweet treat like organic chocolate pieces to dip in the peanut butter. She’ll love the fun of dipping and you’ll love that she gets a nutritious lunch! Chop up a large batch and pre-make 2-3 lunches ahead of time.
3. The Fun Size Lunch — Getting your child to eat all of her sandwich (when she said it’s what she wanted and she changes her mind halfway through) can require some serious Mom maneuvering. Switch things up and give her fun size sandwiches that each have different ingredients. Make four sandwiches that you know she’ll love and cut them into quarters. Pack a lunch with four different quarters to make one exciting sandwich. Four sandwiches make four days of lunches ahead of time. Pair with fruit snacks or other bite size snacks to complete the idea.