Ideas for School Lunchesby Shelley Frost
The same sandwich and apple every day gets boring for kids. A little creativity makes the brown bag lunch more exciting and encourages your child to eat what you pack instead of trading it or giving it away. Getting your child involved in the planning and prep can also increase excitement about the food you pack.
Sliced bread is typically used to construct sandwiches for school lunches. Try a different way to contain your child's favorite sandwich fillings to make lunch more interesting. Pitas offer versatility, allowing you to stuff the pocket with a variety of fillings. Cheese, meat and vegetables are common fillings. Spread your child's favorite dip inside the pita pocket before filling it for additional flavor. Hummus, guacamole, flavored cream cheese and peanut butter work well. Other options are tortillas, English muffins, flat bread, buns or bagels.
Mix 'N Match Lunch
Allowing your child to pick his own lunch components makes him more likely to eat it at school. Have your child pick a food that fits particular categories you set. For example, your categories might include a main dish, fruit, vegetable and a sweet treat. If your child has difficulty choosing, create a list for each category to serve as a guide. Your child reviews the list and chooses one item from each column to create his lunch. This option also creates variety in the lunch offering.
Many kids don't have access to microwaves or other methods of heating up a lunch, which makes it difficult to provide a hot meal. Soup is one option that can stay warm until lunch time when prepared and stored properly. Choose a thermos that seals tightly. Boil water and pour it into the thermos for about 10 minutes in the morning with the lid on tight. This heats the thermos, which helps retain the heat of the soup. Heat your child's favorite soup to a temperature hotter than you would normally serve. Pour the water out of the thermos and fill it with the hot soup. Seal the thermos immediately to retain the heat. A sandwich on the side offers more bulk to the meal if soup alone isn't enough.
A theme within the lunch bag is another way to jazz up school lunches. Several themes work well with lunches. You might choose a particular type of ethnic food as the theme, such as Mexican or Chinese. Color is another theme option. For an orange lunch, you might pack a cold cheese sandwich, cheese chips, carrots and an orange. Other lunch theme ideas include an upcoming holiday, finger foods or shapes.
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