Preparing lunches and snacks for your kids is a great way to ensure they will have access to healthy, nutritious food to keep them going through the day. It can seem like a stressful and daunting idea but if you follow some tips and guidelines, it can be fun and easy and you can even include your kids. We won’t be surprised if you even use some of these ideas for yourself!
Preparation is key
One of the simplest things to ensure lunch making is an easy, fun experience, is doing a load of the work ahead of time.
- Plan the weeks meals the weekend before.
- Pack whatever you can the night before.
- Peel and chop all the weeks fruit and vegetables at once. All that will be left is portioning and packing them up the night before or in the morning.
- Prepare and freeze favorites. Do the kids like muffins as part of their lunch? Bake a batch, freeze and pull one out to thaw the night before. Are you making a delicious, healthy meal they love for dinner? Double it and freeze the leftovers in single portions. Pull out to thaw the night before.
Encourage kids to participate
Getting kids involved in lunch packing is a healthy habit to build. Make lunch planning a part of your weekends together and let kids help in the decision making and prep work.
- Asking your kids what they want in their lunches helps ensure they’ll actually eat what’s packed! Give them some options, and let them pick their favorites. If you keep the options healthy, they’ll have to pick something healthy, but they’ll feel like they had a choice.
- Take them to the co-op and let them pick out a new vegetable or fruit to try in their lunch.
- Let them help with any preparation cooking! Are you making a big batch of pasta salad to go in lunches during the week? Have the kids mix, pour, portion or cut, depending on their age. Letting them do the simplest of tasks helps them feel involved in making their food.
When lunch gets dull, it doesn’t get eaten.
- Careful not to get too repetative throughout the week. This can be as simple as packing peanut butter and carrots on the side one day and hummus and bell peppers the next!
- Fill lunch with foods from a variety of food groups. This is fail safe way to provide an intersting lunch. A treat is a great touch, but don’t overdo it or they’ll fill up on that first.
Keep our Back to School Guide on the fridge for inspiration. Find a printed copy in store during August!