12 Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Actually Eat
It’s no secret that students need a healthy, mid-day meal to fuel their bodies and minds during the long day at school. Tired of feeling stressed about what to pack and how to pack it? Build a better lunchbox this school year with the help of the following tips and tricks.
Reusable separators: Use reusable cupcake liners in round or square shapes to separate foods in larger plastic containers. Fill with cheese cubes, cut fruit, vegetables or crackers (bonus for picky eaters – the foods don’t touch). Available at Amazon.com for around $10 for a 12-pack.
Buildable sandwiches: Make kids think they are eating a Lunchable, but made with ingredients you hand pick. Put everything needed to make mini sandwiches – one piece of bread cut into quarters, slices of cheese, sliced meat, thin-sliced carrots and lettuce. Serve ranch or mayo on the side. Kids can build the sandwiches or eat ingredients separately.
Make-ahead yogurt pops: Purchase a silicone ice pop maker set found on Amazon.com or at a local retailer. To make 8-10 you will also need: 1 32 oz. container of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit and 2-3 tbsp. honey (optional). Blend ingredients, pour into molds and freeze at least 5 hours before popping in the lunch box.
Lunch box smoothies: You can pack lots of nutrients into a smoothie for easy eating at lunch time. Blend favorite frozen fruits in a blender and add orange juice, milk or yogurt. Pour into freezable containers (she used 8-ounce Ball Plastic Freezer Jars). Freeze and pack into the lunch box with a spoon (they double as an ice pack).
Lunch kabobs: Combine any of the following onto bamboo skewers to mix up lunch. Try turkey and cheddar cheese with cucumbers, salami and provolone with bell peppers, chicken and Monterey jack cheese with pickles, roast beef and Swiss cheese with olives. You could also do this with fruit.
Use mini muffin tins: Bake kid-sized snacks in these tins, which fit easily into a lunch box with other foods. Look up healthy muffin recipes including whole grains and fruits. Other ideas include baking macaroni and cheese cups, pizza bites, mini meatloaf, corn dog muffins and more. Find these ideas on Pinterest by searching kid foods in muffin tins.
Easy as a Sandwich:
Roll ups: these skip the traditional sandwich, but keep in line with a child’s taste. Flatten a favorite piece of bread with a rolling pin and add peanut butter and jelly, lunch meat and cheese or Nutella and fruit. Roll the bread and slice into individual rolls for easy eating.
Quesadillas: they don’t have to be hot for most kids to enjoy them. Mix it up with different types of tortillas, cheeses, meats and vegetables.
Breakfast food: waffles and pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausages, and you can even use leftovers from a previous breakfast.
Leftovers: warm up any food from the night before and put into a Thermos to keep it warm until lunch time. This can be spaghetti, soup, casserole, etc. and make sure to pack a kid-friendly plastic utensil