The school season is upon us! Fueling kids through the school day so they feel full, focused and ready to learn is essential, but it can be tough finding the right lunch to pack for your child – one that they’ll eat even when out of your sight.
And while we at Just Add Cooking have made dinners as easy as can be, packing a lunch can become a huge chore! So we’ve made a list of our favorite tips for packing a lunch that your child will eat!
Choose the Right Container
What your kid is carrying his lunch in can make all the difference in his excitement to eat it. Let your child be involved in picking out his or her lunch box. Perhaps a favorite character, color or design will get her excited for lunch. While you’re at it, try to find something functional–a box with containers or coolers that keep foods at the right temperatures or allow you to easily separate the different meal items. One fun one we love is the Bentgo Kids Leakproof Lunch Box, which allows kids to open up a perfectly-portioned box of food and pick and choose how to eat it. (Plus, a divided lunch box like this cuts down on wasteful packaging like baggies.)
Involve Your Kids in the Process
One hack we love is creating a fun whiteboard in your kitchen with the various lunch food groups on it – for example: protein, grains, produce, dairy, dessert, drink. Then, list on the board the options for the week and allow your kids to choose their lunch the night before by selecting one item from each category. You still have control over the ingredients, but kids are more likely to eat if they’re involved in choosing.
Think Outside the Lunchbox
Peanut butter and jelly is great, but sandwiches aren’t the only option for a main meal. A lot of kids love to take leftovers in for dinner, and thanks to lunchbox technology like the KidsKonserve insulated food jar, you can keep foods hot for a few hours, providing your children with ready-to-go meals that are repeats of their dinnertime favorites.
Get Creative with Presentation
We eat with our eyes first, so consider doing something fun with lunch to make it more appealing. Some examples include using cookie cutters to cut sandwiches and fruit into fun shapes, or skewering fruit or veggies on a stick. Kids love anything that can be dipped, so combining pretzels with cut veggies and providing a duo of dips like honey mustard and hummus is a winning combination as well.
Prep in Advance
Many of us batch cook dinners in advance, but what about lunch? Peanut butter and jelly freezes great, and will thaw completely prior to your child eating it at school. Make a big batch of sandwiches at the start of the week and take away the headache of having to make one every morning. Hard boil one batch of eggs and provide protein all week. Pre-portion snacks and place them in reusable containers or baggies. You can even create a snack station for kids to choose their treat or dessert as the final touch to their lunch box.
So now you’ve got lunch covered. What about dinner? It’s the perfect time to check out Just Add Cooking and take your meal planning and grocery shopping woes away. Use code BACKTOSCHOOL for a free family dinner when you order a 4-person, 3-meal box! (New customers only, 33% discount.)