Kids & Parenting

School lunch ideas

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Bento box for lunch
Bento boxes are a popular way to pack a healthy lunch
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Ideas for a great school lunch

Itís a known fact that obesity is a growing epidemic amongst Americaís children. Some parents let their kids buy unhealthy food at the school cafeteria or send unhealthy processed food and sweets in packed lunches. What can you do to make sure your kids are eating a healthy diet? Here are several healthy and creative school lunch ideas!   

Get your little one involved
While doing arts and crafts is a fun way to interact with your child, another fun way to play together is to get your child involved in making their lunches. If they donít give you input about what they want and like, they may be tossing out the lunch or trading items with friends. Sit down with your child and come up with a list of school lunch ideas that they like and that you approve of as being healthy. You can work from this list when trying to decide what to make each day.

You can also have you child help you prepare the food. Buy an assortment of nuts, dried fruit, and salty snacks. You and your little one can toss together your very own trail mix, and you can serve it in baggies for lunch that week. They will enjoy knowing that the snack is custom-made and they helped create it! You can also have your child help you make a sandwich; buy metal cookie cutters and let them help you make them into fun shapes before packing up the lunch.

Get creative

Are your kids tired of the same boring sandwich? Think of ways to spice up the meals! Cut the sandwiches in fun shapes, like stars. Do you often give them peanut butter sandwiches? Add slices of banana inside. If your child isn't too picky, you could also use tasty spreads such as hummus or pesto to add more variety.

Consider using a different type of bread for the sandwiches. Instead of plain white or wheat, try using banana bread or zucchini bread instead. You could also wrap the contents in a tortilla or pita, and even grill press it. You could also make the sandwich on English muffins.

Bento boxes

Rather than packing sack lunches or lunchboxes, many parents now send their children to school with bento boxes. Inspired by Japanese culture, these plastic containers offer a creative and easy way to serve a healthy lunch.

Bento boxes are small plastic dishes with individually divided containers. They come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and designs. But they prevent the need for plastic baggies. The child opens the lid and before them is a platter of delicious food. They usually always have one larger container for the main dish, such as the sandwich. There are then usually several smaller containers for side dishes, such as fruit, veggies, a salad, or anything else you want to include. There are entire websites devoted to bento box lunches for kids; many parents pride themselves on filling the colorful boxes with creative and healthy food.

Go natural

Many parents think that their kids wonít be satisfied if they canít have some cookies, brownies, or other type of sugary sweets in their school lunch. However, candy and other goodies like this are fatty, are bad for teeth, and cause a blood sugar spike that leaves children tired later. Instead, give them something naturally sweet: fruit.

Consider giving your child a mix of fresh berries; perhaps some raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. You could add a container of vanilla yogurt and let them mix the fruit in. Even better, add in some granola, which will add in some crunchy texture and sweetness.

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