When it comes to packing a lunch for school, many parents are left scratching their heads trying to come up with ideas that are not only nutritious but also what their children will actually eat.
The Produce for Kids Power Your Lunchbox site is a great place to start. The site is packed with lunchbox ideas full of fruits and vegetables and they all have great kid appeal. Once your family has found a few favorites, here are a few ideas to help you stay organized on the road to packing a nutritious, healthy lunch each day.
- Prep fruits and vegetables. Sliced apples can be dipped in lemon water to prevent browning. Carrots, celery and bell peppers can be cut up and stored in cold water in the refrigerator. Later, you can pull out just what you need. You’ll save money too by taking a few extra minutes to cut up your own fruit and vegetables instead of buying the prepackaged variety.
- Make it fun. By cutting fruits and vegetables into fun shapes or sliding them on to a stick kebab-style, kids enjoy the presentation and are more likely to eat more of them. There are cookie cutters in just about every shape and size these days. You can use those to cut up things like apples or cucumbers. For younger children, try using popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks to slide the food onto. This Under the Sea Bento Box is the perfect example!
- Talk to your child and find out what they like. It’s easy to get into a rut making the same thing over and over but maybe your child has seen another classmate try something interesting and they want to try it too.
- Involve the kids in packing their own lunch. When they’re involved, they’re more likely to eat their whole lunch and it’s a great time to talk about healthy choices too.
- Keep track of your choices. I don’t know about you, but every year it seems as though our life gets busier and busier. I can’t always rely on my brain to keep track of everything, so I write down what I can.
- Find the right containers. There are a number of reusable lunch containers on the market now. Many are divided into different compartments allowing you to customize the lunch. There are even containers that will let you keep hot food hot and cold food cold, plus insulated totes and ice packs will help the food stay fresh.
- Pack lunches the night before. Mornings seem to be a hectic time for just about everyone. Pack drinks in thermoses, get wraps or sandwiches ready to go and put fruits and vegetables into the different containers and store in the refrigerator. Then, in the morning, all you need to do is pull everything out of the refrigerator, fill the lunch tote and everyone is ready to go.
- Set up a lunch preparation launch pad. Designate a drawer or shelf in your kitchen to hold the lunch preparation materials like sandwich cutters, storage containers or bags, and spoons and forks. By having everything in a central location, packing a lunch is quick and easy.