School is back in session! If you have a K-12 student, bus routes, school supplies, homework and packing lunches are again a part of your daily routine. A new year of experiences is waiting just around the corner. As a kid, back to school shopping was always a favorite of mine. Especially for school supplies, even the backpack and lunch box! I have always been a fan of creativity and organization. As a parent I take those loves and focus them on my child’s lunches. Thinking of ways to make a child’s lunch nutritious AND fun is quite the task, but I like to think I am up for the challenge.
Letting children help you pack their lunch (in whatever way is most appropriate and safe) is a great way to teach them about nutrition and health in the process. The more they are involved, the more they will listen and learn. This will take a little more time so set aside 10-15 more minutes than you usually do, but I believe is very much worth the time and effort when it comes to your child’s knowledge and intake of healthy foods. Below are a few tips to help get you started!
1) Have multiple options of pre-packaged healthy foods on hand for your little one to pick from. Many grocery stores offer a variety of ready-to-pack trail mix, pre cut fruits and veggies, pre-portioned cheese cubes/slices and single-serve yogurts. I have even seen hummus and cracker cups and single serve guacamole cups as well! These products are usually a tad more expensive but do 99% of the work for you. You then just need to direct your child to pick 1 or 2 of these items to put in their lunch box each day. This helps combat monotony as they can choose something different each day if needed.
2) Utilize cookie cutters to make eating sandwiches a little more fun. Your child can cut the sandwich with the tool (under supervision) and be excited to show their friends the dinosaur, heart, star, etc. shape they have made the next day.
3) Have a high quality, insulated lunch box and thermos picked out for your child. Make sure there are ice packs included and educated your child about how and when to use them! Food safety is very important! You can always quiz them when making their lunch if an ice pack is needed or not! Bentgo Kids is an example of a high quality lunch box for kids.
I hope this has been helpful and has sparked some excitement about the school year ahead. Head on over to the blog for a kid friendly lunch box recipe! Happy packing!