Kids’ school days are packed with learning, laughing and lots of fun. To get the most out of their time in class, it’s important their bodies and minds are properly fuelled. Packing a healthy lunch is one of the easiest ways parents can support their child’s education during the day while they can’t be there. Healthy foods keep distracting hunger pangs at bay while providing important nutrients to support focus and learning.
Many traditional healthy foods aren’t necessarily kid-friendly, which leaves moms and dads wondering how to pack a wholesome lunch that will actually get eaten. Fortunately, a little creative thinking and a few simple lunchbox tricks can help you create tasty meals that will fuel your kids throughout the school day. Consider these seven smart ideas and be inspired to create your own kid-approved combinations.
Think outside the loaf
Sandwiches are a lunchbox staple, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to two pieces of bread. To add variety and boost nutrient intake, incorporate fun variations. For example, use whole-grain tortillas to create wraps, or, go one step further and cut up the rolls for bite-size “sushi” that makes it fun for lunching. Another idea: Use whole-wheat waffles as the sandwich ends and fill with peanut butter and banana or cream cheese and apples.
Ever notice how everything associated with kids has tons of colour? Children are attracted to vivid hues and you can use this to your advantage when you pack lunches. Put a rainbow in every lunch by packing colourful produce such as green cucumber, cherry tomatoes, purple plums, orange carrots, and yellow peppers. You’ll keep things visually stimulating and the various colours of fresh foods mean they are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Fantastic freeze-dried fruit
Fresh fruit isn’t always an option and that’s when delicious freeze-dried snacks can save the day. The perfect complement to any healthy lunch or the ideal lightweight portable snack, freeze-dried fruit comes in many single-serving varieties to keep lunchboxes interesting, including banana, apple, pineapple, and pear. You can feel good about giving your kids a snack that is 100 per cent fruit, non-GMO and allergen-free with no additives or sugar added.
Breakfast for lunch
Is it backwards day? No, but you can get a little crazy by shaking things up when you pack breakfast foods for lunch. Kids will grin with joy as they open their pack to see their favourite whole grain cereal with a side of milk, or muffins with secret healthy ingredients like fruit or shredded veggies. You might even consider your child’s favourite breakfast sandwich or a yoghurt parfait as a wholesome lunch option.
Slurp up soup
Cold lunch doesn’t necessarily need to be cold. Get a reusable insulated container and get ready to delight those kid’s taste buds with vitamin-rich soup. Whether you choose a hearty alphabet soup bought from the store or decide to make a batch at home, look for options packed with different vegetables and limited salt. Simply heat up in the morning and it will be ready and waiting come lunch time. Warm soup satisfies the stomach while warming the heart.
Dip and munch
If you have a hesitant kid who is known to snub their nose at fruits and veggies, consider making eating more fun by packing a side of dip. Children adore the act of dipping and it makes eating a fun, interactive activity. A little yoghurt will encourage kids to gobble up fruits like orange wedges, apple slices or halved strawberries. Low-fat salad dressing or hummus is the perfect pairing for veggie straws including carrots, celery or sweet peppers.
Protein helps kids feel fuller for longer, getting them through those lengthy school days. It’s important to pack a protein source in lunch, but meats aren’t your only option. Eggs are high in protein, so try hard-boiled or scrambled and pack in an insulated container. Other kid-friendly foods high in protein include cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, beans and many nuts or nut butters.
You are what you eat, so it’s important to choose your children’s food wisely.