Planning nutritious lunches is only half the battle. Getting your child to eat them is the bigger challenge. Young palates don’t always crave what adults know is good for them. So consider these tips and your child might actually prefer a bag lunch to cafeteria fare.
Presentation is Everything
The lunchbox has to be awesome. The PlanetBox — part bento box, part TV dinner tray — is a great choice because it helps you plan balanced meals by design. And it’s eco-friendly! A little pricey, but you’ll recoup your investment in no time by saving on wraps and bags, and waste less food because the compartments are portion controlled.
Make it Visually Appealing
A child’s logic says, “If it doesn’t look good, I won’t taste good.” So get creative with slicing and dicing, with colors, and with shapes. A sandwich can have more personality, cheese can become an art form, and veggies can look more interesting with just a little effort. Use cookie cutters to your advantage!
Fantastic Finger Foods
Cut sandwiches into quarters, triangles or other fun shapes. Or forgo the bread altogether and make turkey and string-cheese rollups. Cubed lean meats and peeled hard-boiled eggs are other protein options, and be sure to include some of those little pickles. Cut oranges into wedges (with skins on), and chop large fruits rather than serving individual cans or fruit cups, which might contain harmful BPA in the packaging. Raw veggies such as snap peas, steamed edamame, cauliflower florets and tri-colored mini peppers are sweet and nutritious. Entice them to eat a variety of veggies by including a side of dip. Add whole-grain crackers or nuts satisfy their salty craving.
Quench Their Thirst, Satisfy Their Sweet Tooth
Individual containers of organic milk, apple juice or almond milk are better alternatives than sugar-laden juice boxes. Some juice drinks contain very little juice! And for dessert, make a batch of healthy mini muffins, oatmeal cookies or a nut bars over the weekend. Divvy them into small portions and serve in lieu of store-bought cookies and candy.
Preparation is key. If you spend time prepping on Sunday, the rest of the week will be a breeze. Your options will be in front of you, ready to be assembled into a healthy and nutritious box lunch.