Ready to Start Packing School Lunches Again? Tips to Get You Started

Posted: August 5, 2021 1:26 pm

Pack Lunches Your Kids Will Eat Using These Tips

Back to school time is right around the corner. Have you started thinking of ways that you can make lunchtime fun and healthy for your children while they are away at school? Now is the time to start brainstorming ways that you can stay out of the rut of daily ham and cheese sandwiches.

Here are a handful of easy school lunch ideas, tips, and recipes that you can incorporate into your weekly routine.

Homemade Lunchables

Does your kid love the packaged Lunchable products? If you want something healthier and more affordable, consider making your own version of this popular lunchtime entree. You can easily recreate a classic Lunchable using your own crackers, deli meats, and cheeses. A divided bento box lunchbox makes it easy to separate all of the ingredients. Kids will love assembling their own cheese, meat, and cracker sandwiches. As a bonus, this is a fun way to improve fine motor skills for young children.

Alphabet Vegetable Soup

Once the temperature starts to cool down, your child may begin to crave something warm and comforting in their school lunch. What could be more appropriate for a school lunch than a thermos of homemade alphabet vegetable soup? This hearty soup is brimming with whimsical alphabet pasta, vegetables, and loads of seasoning and garlic to deliver a flavorful and healthy lunch that will warm their bellies. This recipe also freezes well, making it easy to prepare a big batch and save it for later. You can keep the soup fresh and warm by heating it and putting it into an insulated thermos.

Freezable Homemade Uncrustables

Have a kid who loves pre-packaged peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but you don’t want to spend money on the expensive Uncrustables brand? Consider making your own homemade version of this peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Do not limit yourself to plain peanut butter and jelly. You can experiment with various nut butters and jams so that your child does not get bored with the selection. Be sure to spread the nut butter on both sides of the bread before applying the jelly. This will prevent the bread from getting too soggy as it thaws out. If you pull these beauties out in the morning, they will naturally thaw by the time lunchtime rolls around for your student.

Kid-friendly Pasta Salad

When the outside temperature still feels like summer, your child will appreciate lunch with a cooler entree choice. This kid-friendly pasta salad features healthy vegetables that most kids will tolerate. Feel free to customize the recipe to fit the personal tastes of your child. Choosing a pasta in a fun shape will also motivate them to eat more of it. Make a big batch at the start of the week and the whole family can enjoy eating it for lunch throughout the week.

Make-Your-Own Yogurt Parfait

A make-your-own yogurt parfait is a fun lunch idea that kids will love putting together. All that you need to pull this off is a cup of yogurt, a bag full of whole-grain granola, and a handful of fresh berries. You may want to pack a larger disposable bowl for your child to mix all of the ingredients together. Kick it up a notch with the addition of extra toppings. Good choices include shredded coconut, nuts, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

Sandwich Wraps

Do not feel limited to using bread as a vehicle for all of your sandwich ingredients. Kids will appreciate you getting creative with their lunchtime options. Instead of using regular bread, try using a tortilla wrap to hold all of the meat and cheese together. Other fun choices include naan bread, pita pockets, and slider buns.

Easy Veggie Muffins

Kids will not even realize that they are eating broccoli and carrots when you hide them in these delicious veggie muffins. Pair these muffins with a protein choice and a piece of fruit for a complete meal. For example, these muffins along with a piece of string cheese and a mandarin orange is a healthy meal that delivers a host of nutrients to help your child power through the rest of the school day. Because these muffins freeze beautifully, it is easy to make a big batch and use them for weeks.

Dippers

It is no secret that kids love to dip their food into sauces. You will see a greater chance that your student devours their lunch if you incorporate dipping sauces into their meal. For example, simply adding a cup of ranch dressing may go a long way in encouraging your kid to eat their carrots and celery. Other fun ideas include marinara sauce for whole-grain breadsticks, vanilla yogurt for apple slices, and hummus for pita bread and crackers.

Enlist the Help of Your Kids

One of the best ways to avoid conflicts over what you pack in your child’s school lunch is to empower them to help to put it all together. Depending on the age of your child, you can give them full control or simply allow them to help you assemble everything while they provide input. If you feel comfortable giving your child control over what to pack, it is a good idea to set up some general recommendations. Savvy parents have found success by providing designated bins in the pantry and the refrigerator so that the child can choose one item from each category. For example, you may want to instruct them to choose one item from the fruit crisper, one low-fat dairy choice, one grain from the designated basket in the pantry, and more. They will be more likely to eat their lunch if they had a hand in putting it all together.

School lunch prep does not have to be a bore or a chore with these tips and ideas. Start gathering the ingredients and supplies now so that you are not caught off guard when the first day of school rolls around.

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