As the summer winds down, it’s time to start thinking about packing lunches. Most of us have the same basic goals. We want to pack healthy school lunches that our kids will actually eat. Right? So, how do we succeed? Here are my top hacks and tips for making fun and healthy school lunches for your kids.
Get Your Kids Involved
Take your kids to the grocery store so they can consider what they would like to eat for the week ahead. Of course they can’t choose just anything. Help guide them toward healthy choices. Having them feel like they took part in selecting the items for their school lunches can be super helpful.
Have Fun With Color
I ask my kids to help me create fun and colorful lunches. I challenge them to see how many colors they can put in one lunch. My daughter loves to create a full rainbow with red peppers, orange baby carrots, yellow tomatoes, green apples, blueberries and plums. My son will create a personal pizza with a variety of colorful veggies.
Get Creative With Shapes
Even my 12-year-old son has fun working with shapes for his lunches. One day he tried to make his lunch entirely circular. A mini pizza, with tomato circles, melon balls, and banana slices. My daughter still likes using cookie cutters like stars and hearts for sandwiches and fruit. I can make silly faces and characters for my daughter’s lunches too. She loves Mr. Tomato Bug.
Go Beyond the Basics
Think beyond typical sandwiches and packaged snacks. Repurposing leftovers is a great way to stretch your food budget as well. A favorite for my kids is when I make shredded chicken wraps from our rotisserie chicken dinners. My kids also love “breakfast for lunch.” For example, I’ll make mini pancake and bacon sliders.
Include a Treat
Let’s face it, your kids are going to want a treat of some kind. My daughter will sometimes be satisfied with fruit, but my son insists on something sweeter. I try my best to create low-sugar options at home. My healthy banana bread is a great option. My daughter also likes to make tasty treats using apple cinnamon rice cakes with peanut butter and fruit.
Make it a Challenge With a Reward
I try my best to enforce the 80/20 rule. As a family, we eat about 80% healthy and 20% splurge. When my kids succeed in eating healthy throughout the week, we’ll take a trip to the ice cream or candy shop for a reward.