Back-to-school shopping was completed long ago, the treasured first-day-of-school photo is in the scrapbook and you’ve been joyfully packing your children’s school lunches.
Then it hits you: There is a lot of lunch packing in your future. If your child takes a lunch from home every day, that’s about 180 school lunches a year.
Even if they only take their lunch some days, that traditional combination of sandwich, fruit and treat can get pretty boring. But it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve pulled together some tips so your family can put a fresh spin on lunchbox basics.
Shake up the menu
We’ve all opened our child’s lunchbox after school at least once and discovered the same thing: a half-eaten sandwich and a lonely apple or orange rolling around the bottom.
You might think you’re packing something healthy your kids will enjoy, but if they are not eating it, you need an alternative.
For some kids, mixing up the options is the key. Instead of a sandwich, try crackers and cheese or a wrap using a tortilla or lettuce. Some kids might like a small container of peanut butter and whole-wheat pretzel sticks.
Or try breakfast for lunch with a breakfast burrito or some french toast sticks. Served with a side of syrup, this kind of meal can be a fun perk for kids during their school day.
Let kids choose
Depending on their age, children can be good helpers when it comes to selecting what goes in their lunches. Give young kids a few different fruit and snack choices and let them pick their favorite for that day. The lunch bag will be more likely to come back empty.
Older children can be encouraged to add their lunch fixings to the weekly grocery list, or they can go shopping with you and make their choices at the store.
Have kids help
Having children share in the lunch-packing responsibility is a good way to encourage healthy eating habits—and lighten your workload.
Even small children can pick out a piece of fruit, their snack and fill their water bottle each night before school.
Older children can often pack their own lunches. To make it simple for them, keep a cupboard or a shelf in your pantry stocked with healthy lunch options, like BodyKey™ Zesty Protein Snacks, BodyKey™ Whole Grain Tortilla Chips or nutritious snack bars, like Nutrilite™ Wellness Bars.
Use a similar strategy in the refrigerator, keeping fruit, yogurt cups and cut vegetables together for grab-and-go ease.
Choose reusable lunch containers
Cut down on waste and expense by using reusable lunch containers that are environmentally friendly.
Reusable water bottles are better than buying water in bulk from the store, and reusable snack containers and sandwich-size containers are better than plastic wrap or plastic bags.
Some people swear by bento boxes, a Japanese-style box divided into small compartments that hold single-servings of food. Using this style of lunchbox means there’s no need to wrap things in plastic. They are also easy to wash each night to be ready for the next day.
With a little planning—and a little help from your kids—this year’s school lunches can be a breeze to put together.