Monday, September 28, 2009

It's that time of Year again... Filling the Lunchbox

It seems that every year when the kids go back to school that the old dilemma comes back up. What in the world can I give my kids to eat for lunch. These days, the school lunch line is not always a healthy or tasty place to be. Schools have cut back and frozen and overly processed foods that are just being heated up in the lunchroom, nothing is cooked from scratch anymore.

So here's some ideas that you can try to beat the boring thoughts of spreading peanut butter and jelly everyday. Not to mention my youngest decided that the day school started that he 'hated' peanut butter, so I myself have had to get creative with his lunch.

First and easiest thing to do for lunch is serve leftovers! Yeah you heard me, good old leftovers. My kids love it. They have thermos' that I can put hot chili, lasagna, or soups right into. I heat them very hot in the am and then cover them up. Be careful not to twist your container too tight as it may form a seal very hard for a child to open! (ask me how I know) My kids love to have their favorites warm for lunch! They love it and many times they are proud to bring it to school because they have helped in the process of making the meal the night before.

Another thing is to get out of the thought process that every lunch has to have a sandwich. Why? Sometimes we are creatures of habit. My kids enjoy different types of breads, zucchini breads, apple breads, carrot breads, corn bread, generally I bake them into muffins so they resemble 'cupcakes' and they gobble them up. How about baked blue corn chips with black bean dip. Hummus and cut up vegetables for dipping, or celery and peanut butter (or other nut butters) with raisins/ dried fruit. Yogurt (vanilla or plain) with some mixed berries or fruit and a bit of granola or muesli to put on top for a bit of crunch. If your child really likes sandwiches how about rolling up your sandwich fixings on a tortilla and slicing (it will kind of look like sushi) and put little toothpicks in them to hold them together. Mini bagels(whole grain preferred) are great, how about slicing a few, giving the child a little container of sauce and another with grated cheese. (their own 'lunchables') There are so many things that you can do with your child's lunches.

Cute stylish containers make food more appealing to kids. I still use the laptop lunches that I wrote about a few years ago and I bought about 4 yrs ago! No buying sandwich bags and tons of prepacked foods with lots of garbage coming home everyday!

Most important put something fresh in the lunchbox everyday and avoid processed junk foods. Fresh fruits, even frozen fruits go over well with kids. Put the frozen fruits into the lunchbox it will help keep your foods cold and will be thawed by lunchtime. Try to introduce new foods with other foods that you know your child really likes. They wont starve themselves and they may be more likely to try new foods when you are not looking!

Other little tips, every once in awhile, cut your child's plain sandwich with cookie cutters to make them more interesting and exciting to eat. Homemade puddings can be a great treat and healthy too. Whatever you do, make the best choices of foods for your child as possible, whole foods are best, and give your child a healthy start to a lifetime of good eating habits!

1 comment:

Angie said...

YAYYYYYYY! I've been PATIENTLY waiting. I'll be passing out your site on my facebook!

Love it, Carrie! Thanks!