Kids have high energy needs, which often translates into cravings for a between-meal snacking. Unfortunately, too often these snacks are high in energy but low in nutrition. This, in turn, can make a healthy lunch look less appetizing, and then your children aren’t getting the healthy foods they need.
Snacking is normal, and even necessary, but you don’t want it ruining a healthy lunch either. In order to counterbalance this, there are a couple things you can do. First, you can make sure that those snacks are nutrient dense. Second, you can use some of these creative ways to get your children more excited about a healthy lunch.
- Presentation Matters
We’re not saying you have to garnish every little thing and make sure that every portion of the meal is presented in the most aesthetically appealing way. But you might consider using colorful delivery devices, and maybe find ways to portion the meal into separate containers.
You can also make it even more attractive by creating a lunch full of colorful and fun foods. You might try a bright bean salad, fruit salad, cubes of cheddar or Swiss cheese, or tuna fish sandwiches that are shaped like a small fish.
- Finger Foods
Like we said earlier, kids are full of energy. Sitting down and working their way through an extensive lunch spread may seem like a waste of time to a lot of children, especially when there’s so much running, playing, shouting, and playing to do.
Finger foods are fast and easy, and kids can get their nutritious fill without feeling like it’s a chore. You could try things like:
- String cheese
- Crackers and cheese/peanut butter
- Vegetables and a healthy dip
- A range of berries
- Pocket Foods
A couple slices of bread make an efficient food-delivery device, but it’s not a very interesting one. There’s a lot more you can do with a little pocket bread to liven up your lunches and make it more enjoyable for your kids.
A whole wheat pita pocket can hold a wide range of foods, both sweet and savory. Try it with a range of vegetables, lunch meats, and even fruits with a healthy yogurt sauce if you’re feeling daring.
- Food on a Stick
Yes, kids love corndogs. There’s something about eating food on a stick that appeals to kids (and the kid in all of us), but there are healthier options than that. (Just be sure you use a blunt stick.)
Try some fruit kebabs. Everything from pineapples, grapes, apples, pears, and more can create a colorful and fun addition to your lunch.
You might even be able to sneak some vegetables into their lunch this way. A salad on a stick could include some crisp lettuce, beats, eggs, cucumbers, and cheese.
- Spin the Classics
PB&J has been a lunch standby forever, but what if you put the peanut butter and jelly a whole wheat mini bagel? Do your kids like ham and cheese in a sandwich or on a cracker? Try rolling the meat and cheese and skewering it with a pretzel. Switch out the chicken wraps for a peanut butter, banana, and granola wrap.
These are just a few of the things you can do to make a healthy lunch a more exciting time of the day for your kids and help make nutritious foods a normal part of their day.