As a mom who dramatically changed my own eating habits last year, I find it very important to pass healthy eating habits on to my children as well. Sometimes it can be so easy to throw a prepackaged meal into my kids lunch, but then the mom guilt sets in and I always regret not taking the time to make my kids' meals mean something when they open them up each day. Here are some fun and festive ideas for packing school lunches that you can make for your children and still provide a healthy well balanced meal.
Brown rice, hard boiled egg, cheese slices, mango chunks, broccoli, and tomatoes
Think outside of the box when it comes to lunches. The days of boring sandwiches are behind us! At the beginning of the week, or the night before, I sometimes prepare a batch of brown rice, cooked in a small amount of low sodium soy sauce, and mold it into a shape using a large cookie cutter. Make it fun by adding some chopsticks instead of a spoon. This is also a great way to teach children about the customs of other cultures.
Homemade pizza: flour tortillas, shredded mozzarella cheese, homemade sauce, pepperoni, and unsweetened applesauce
Most kids love pizza! In our house, instead of buying the prepackaged pizza lunch kits, we make our own. Using a large cookie cutter, cut flour tortillas into fun shapes and bake for about 5 minutes or so in the oven. Make your own pizza sauce using tomato sauce, tomato paste, and a few spices like garlic. Add pepperoni, cheese, and even veggies if you wish, and your child can build their own, healthier, mini pizzas at school every day.
Cheese pinwheels, green pepper slices, banana, pretzel rods, and peanut butter
I try to keep the food pyramid in mind when preparing my kids' lunches. A variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy, and healthy fats are what make a well balanced meal. And whether it be peanut butter, salsa, or even hummus, providing a dip is always a great way to get kids to eat their veggies, even when parents aren't around. Making your own homemade dips can be quick and simple. I always prefer homemade over prepackaged foods since so many foods now have added sugar that I don't want my children to have.
Don't forget that even the drink you provide doesn't have to be filled with tons of added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. We all know water is the best for our bodies, but sometimes kids want something more. Kids are kids, do we blame them? That's why I love these new ready to drink Fruitshoot juice drinks. The no-spill cap, makes it easy to just throw in their lunch bag and not have to worry about it leaking (been there, done that). The best part... Fruitshoot drinks actually taste great!
Fruitshoot comes in 4 fun and festive colors and flavors, including Orange, Apple, Berry Burst, and Strawberry/Raspberry. Phoenix, Tyler, and Elijah love the apple flavor the best because it tastes just like green apple candy.
I take pride in waking up each morning and packing healthy school lunches, that are also fun and festive, for my children. Lunches don't have to take forever to pack and they don't have to be boring. I feel good about the choices I provide because I know they will help nourish them and provide them with the nutrients and energy they need to sustain their day.
What are some of the things you do to provide creative healthy lunches for your child?