Home > Food > School Lunches > Lunch Box Ideas
|

Lunch Box Ideas

Remember that children of all ages respond to peer pressure and may not eat foods away from home that they would at home. Sometimes this turns out for the child's best interests. With friends, most children will eat or experiment with new foods that they would not touch at home, even with parents urging and role modeling, Take advantage of this opportunity. Find out what other children are eating when your child must "carry" food. Even very young children "share" the contents of their lunch boxes, and few people want to be so different as to stand out. Include one new food or one less favorite food with foods you know your child will eat.

The lunch box or bag should contain a variety of foods, shapes, and textures – the same as meals at home. However, some foods pack and travel better than others. Be aware also that flavors from one food can overshadow a less flavorful one if kept in a closed container together.

Usually children will prefer foods that can be eaten with their fingers. This makes fruit, raw vegetables, and sandwiches well suited for the lunch box. Occasionally sending soup or chili (especially in the winter) in a thermos can improve lagging appetites.

Even though sandwiches are the traditional lunch choices, other high-protein options include turkey or chicken slices or nuggets, meatloaf, hard cooked eggs, and cheese slices, chunks, or sticks.

If you choose to send sandwiches, instead of using regular bread, try using pita pockets, rice cakes, tortillas, muffins, bagels, English muffins, or raisin bread. Experiment with different fillings for the sandwiches: peanut butter and grated carrots, mashed bananas, or raisins; cheeses other than just American; various cooked vegetable purees or fruit purees mixed with low-fat cream cheese; and mixtures of meats, chicken, or tuna fish that includes raw fruits and vegetable pieces to give that extra crunch.

One note of caution about using mixtures of foods in the summertime. Unless the lunch can be refrigerated until eaten, you must be very careful to send only those foods and mixtures that will not spoil easily. This means avoiding mixtures with salad dressing, mayonnaise, or egg- or milk-based sauces.

Cut sandwiches in small (1/4 slice of bread) pieces or strips for easy handling. Or be creative by using various cookie cutters to create sandwiches in the shape of hearts, stars, or even Mickey Mouse or other animals.

Raw fruits and vegetables are great to include. Make them easy to eat by cutting in small pieces, peeling off the skin, etc. For treats, oatmeal raisin or peanut butter cookies, graham or animal crackers, vanilla wafers or fruited mini-muffins can add much nutritional value. In addition, there are many commercial single serving products available, such as Jell-0®, puddings, fruit sauces, sliced fruits, etc. Each comes in its own container, which can be thrown away or recycled after the food is eaten.

Don't forget to include a surprise -- either a favorite food or a note, sticker, or cartoon -- anything that says, "You are special and I care for you." Your child and his or her friends will look forward to your lunches packed with such love and nutrition.

|

From Quick Meals for Healthy Kids and Busy Parents. Copyright 1995 by Sandra K. Nissenberg, Margaret L. Bogle, and Audrey C. Wright. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

To order this book visit www.wiley.com.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Teachers
Offer a genuine "thank you" to your child's teacher halfway through the school year. Give one of these extra-nice holiday gifts for teachers.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!