As we head into another school year, figuring out what to make for lunches seems to be a great idea at the beginning of the year, only to turn into a daunting part after a few weeks once the kids get bored of the same old things. Here are some tips to keep them eating their lunches instead of going in the garbage! As the year goes on, hopefully the kids can help me to find new and exciting lunch ideas.
Keep them involved in some choices. What types of veggies or fruit do they want this week? Do they want cheese, deli meats, or tuna sandwiches? Give them choices, we, as adults get bored with the same old cheese sandwich day in and day out. Try different veggies in their sandwiches, cheeses, sandwich meats and dressings. And of course a treat is nice sometimes! We make a lot at home so that we can control the amount of sugar and which ingredients are in their food. Obviously this isn’t for everyone, so read labels.
Send mini trays of different things, a few grapes, watermelon, orange slices, broccoli and cucumbers with dip. The ideas are endless. You can find dishes for lunches that have separate sections and they can be quite handy.
Try different breads, crackers, pita pockets, bagels or wraps. The flavours are pretty much endless these days from spinach, to cinnamon, or even cheese.
Sometimes making a meal plan over the weekend works well for some families as the kids can be involved in the choosing process of what they like. This works well for our kids, one of them likes the same things most of the time, the other wants different things all the time. One week he’ll choose fruit salad, the next green salad with dressing.
Pre making veggie trays might help with picky kids, as you can say “You choose which you want to have” and they are more likely to eat the item they pick. This won’t work with all kids, but I’ve seen it work on a few ;)
If you send juice boxes, you can freeze them in advance and use them as mini ice packs. The kids love eating them frozen at lunch.
Remember to read labels, some of the pre packaged lunches look great to kids but don’t hold a lot of nutritional value. They need vitamins, and good whole foods with energy to keep their little brains going.
Some schools have a "No Peanuts" rule. They will usually send a note home with your student if that is the case, but in case you are worried, you should contact your school or district to find out for sure.
If you have any awesome lunch ideas, please post in the comment section! We will be sure to try new recipes out!