Goodbye summer. Hello lunch meat. And welcome back to another school year of lunches.
School lunches the first few weeks are usually pretty good but then boredom and routine tends to set in for both parent and child. Packing a healthy lunch our kids will eat day in, day can be a real challenge.
But it doesn’t have to be. You’d be amazed what your kids will eat in their lunches if given the opportunity.
A nutritious lunch doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. Simple fare with a twist can be just as satisfying.
Be imaginative with sandwich staples
The key to a successful school lunch is to be imaginative with sandwich staples. Think chicken and corn, ham and avocado or cream cheese and jam.
According to my child taste panel, tuna salad with crunchy bits of celery and Casear salad dressing wins out over traditional mayonnaise and relish. My pint-sized chicken salad lovers also chose salsa and mayonnaise over plain mayonnaise.
Try a variety of breads
And while white bread still takes the top slot with many kids other bread varieties such as pitas, bagels, English muffins, soft tortillas and flat breads are growing in popularity with the school aged set.
With the variety of breads now on the market, parents and kids alike can get creative with fillings. Soft tortillas and pita pockets make ideal wrappers for hearty nutritious fillings while chewy bagels lend themselves well to sweet or savory spreads. Flat breads and pocket-less pitas are ideal for open-faced delights like pizza, which according to the kids I consulted is not disgusting when served cold.
Make your own
Make-your-own is a growing lunch trend. Kids love to have things packaged separately so they can assemble their own salads and sandwiches. Sure, it takes a little longer to prepare but the pay off is a lunch that ends up eaten instead of trashed or traded.
Introduce new foods and get thumbs up from kids
In an effort to compromise and introduce new foods into your child’s diet consider suggesting twists to the tried and true. How about mixing up grated carrot and raisins with cream cheese to top off a bagel or add a little salad dressing and some new veggies to a favorite wrap? It’s amazing how a little alfalfa, minced broccoli or grated zucchini can liven up an everyday lunch.
Be sure however that any new lunch ideas get the thumbs up from your kids before they are packed in their lunch.
To read the full article and to learn some of my family’s favorite soft tortilla and pita recipes please visit www.school-lunch-ideas.net/school-lunches/ and if you’re interested in receiving regular ‘School Lunch Ideas’ via email please sign up for my FREE newsletter (you’ll find the sign-up box in the upper right hand corner of my School Lunch Ideas blog.