What's a healthy lunchbox menu your child loves?
I'll make them sandwich rolls on tortillas or pita bread - and I can get in some spinach or shredded carrots, with a little bit of ranch dressing.
My daughter enjoys turkey sandwiches on wheat bread and she doesn't need mayo or mustard! I'll add some grapes, pretzel sticks, 1% milk. She is also a fan of applesauce and mandarin oranges for fruit. For dessert, I might add 2 small cookies.
For part of their lunch (or snack) I let my kids create their own popcorn flavors. One of their favorites is this Italian Brown Paper Bag Popcorn. I make a big batch then divide it up into small bags and it's ready to go for the week!
Italian Brown Paper Bag Popcorn:
Another favorite is this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad. It can easily be made with whole wheat/grain pasta and it's full of protein, veggies, and flavor! Everyone enjoys it hot or cold!
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad:
At dinner time my son and I have been talking about nutrition. I printed a food pyramid and have it on our dinner table. We refer to it and place our food groups into the categories. We've had many nice discussions about healthy ways to eat.
Now that my son, 9 years old, has knowledge of the food groups and healthy eating, he packs his own lunch. I made a lunch box scavenger hunt for him to do in the morning before school. He has to select one thing from each category on the food pyramid to go in his lunch box. I have made up pre-bagged veggies, lunch meats, crackers and pretzels, cookies, and 100% fruit juice. (I prefer all natural products and minimally processed foods; therefore, I buy the little snack zip-lock baggies and make my own lunch sized portions.)
Surprisingly enough he even eats better at school! I think it is because he is taking responsibility for his own nourishment and health... or at least I'd like to think that is the reason!
While falling more into the "healthier lunchbox treat" category, these simple graham sandwiches were always a favorite of mine. I look forward them packing them as an occasional treat in my little guys' lunchboxes as soon as they are school-bound.
Baked Chicken Taquitos are perfect for the lunch box. They are a great handheld meal, that will keep well in an insulated lunch box.
My boys are oh-so-excited to find Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Spread sandwiches in their lunch boxes. Though they're nutrition-packed, they feel like a treat. The sandwich is even better if it includes sliced bananas. It's a super-yummy way to get some fiber and protein-rich beans in their lunch.
My girls love sandwiches cut into shapes, nuts and seeds mixed with raisins (for the one who can have raisins) and dairy-free chocolate chips, fresh baby carrots or peas, and just about any kind of fruit. Making their lunchbox look fun has been a key in getting them to enjoy the nutrition packed inside it. In the post I'm linking, I made a very simple, but cute, bento box for my 6yo and 7yo, and they both came home saying how awesome their lunch was, and asking for the same thing all week!
I like to let my son 'decide" what he gets for lunch, which really means I pick the options and he can pick between them. I'm happy to say that his tastes have broadened this year. Our latest "it" lunch includes: A whole wheat bagel thin with a little whipped low fat cream cheese, whatever fruits we have on hand, and a side of homemade kale chips. I admit, I'd prefer a sloppy PB&J myself, but know I need to be his example of how to eat healthy meals. So, kale it is!
We love things that are quick and easy to prepare or can be frozen and thawed on the day.
I make cauliflower & broccoli nuggets that can be baked ahead and frozen then just pulled out in the day, pop in the lunchbox and they'll be thawed by lunch. Simple and vegelicious!
Danni has put together a list of lots of good lunchbox ideas too:
And I love a bit of bento inspiration, small amounts of food simply prepared but displayed differently, can really tempt kids. We've got some bento egg molds which we use to shape boiled eggs - Miss E loves them:
Ilove to add something homemade to my kids lunchboxes. We make these peanut butter oatmeal snacks a lot.
These Pepperoni Pizza Puffs can be eaten cold or warmed up. Kids love eating them and you can change them to fit your preferences.
A turkey and cheese sandwich on wheat with carrots and fruit with apple juice.