Lunch box ideas for children

Written by mallory ferland
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Lunch box ideas for children
Packing a balanced lunch box of both healthy and desired foods is the key to pleasing both you and your child. (lunch image by anna karwowska from Fotolia.com)

Lunch box meals can get tedious after a while for both the parent packing the lunch and the child who has to eat it. The trick with lunch-box packing is choosing healthy over quick and easy. You can make exciting and nutritious lunches in under 10 minutes as long as you are willing to experiment. Not all kids take easy to change and new foods, therefore it is crucial to make a lunch box as attractive as possible.

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Cookie-Cutter Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the classic American lunch box staple, and if your child has grown less than enthusiastic about yet another white square, consider using cookie cutters to punch shapes in the bread. For instance, cut a heart, dinosaur, star, circle or flower. A cute sandwich draws attention. Use shaped bread to make any of your child's favourite sandwiches, including peanut butter and jelly, tomato, chicken or ham.

Dipping

Kids love to dip. Include dips, such as ranch dressing dip or hummus, and things to dip inside their lunch box in a small locking plastic container. They can dip with sliced carrots, celery, pita chips or pretzels. Fruit can also be dipped into cream sauces, caramel and peanut butter.

Wraps and Rolls

Wraps and rolls are exciting alternatives to traditional sandwiches, and if your child isn't a vegiphobe, they are a great way to increase the amount of vegetables in their diet. Only make wraps out of what you know your child will eat. If they like chicken, make a chicken and cranberry salad wrap. If they are a strict peanut butter and jelly consumer, spread both on a whole wheat soft tortilla to add a little extra nutrition. Ham and cream cheese is a popular wrap filling among kids as is cream cheese and honey or jelly. Look for colourfully dyed tortillas at your grocery store; many are died naturally with root and vegetable dyes. Alternate colours such as blue or red will draw your child's attention.

Home Baked

Lunch boxes without desserts are sad sights to children. So, to avoid both frowns and unhealthy packaged cakes and cookies, consider baking your own desserts for your children. These can be made the night or weekend before and stored in individual bags to last the week. Homemade cookies, muffins, cupcakes, brownies and sweet rolls allow you to control exactly what ingredients go into the recipe. Home baking desserts is also economical, as one batch of chocolate chip cookies can last the whole week (if you hide them).

Fresh Fruit Salad

Most kids are unenthusiastic about a whole apple or banana stuck in their lunch bag. However, cut it up, mix it with a few other colours, and add a spoon and it becomes a bright treat. Cut apples, grapes, pears, bananas and strawberries into bite-size pieces and place into a tight-locking plastic food container. By the time lunch time rolls around, the juices will have released and formed their own natural syrup. Don't forget to include a spoon or fork.

Snacks

The elementary school lunchroom can often be a battlefield where kids compare, boast and pine after the attractive and popular sweet packaged brands. While no parent necessarily enjoys feeding their child greasy crisps, expensive fruit snacks or sugary pudding tubes, you might let your kid indulge in one item that all the other kids are enjoying. Pack them a healthy homemade lunch with one fruit snack, pudding cup, chip bag, cracker pack or chocolate treat. Completely depriving children of foods they desire only builds an unhealthy relationship with food. Processed foods can be OK in moderation.

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