Welcome to Day 2 of Lunchbox BONANZA! I hope you printed the handy list of lunchbox options from yesterday and are using it as a guide for those busy mornings of lunch prep!
Today the Happy Home Fairy will provide you with some tips and tricks for packing a school lunch with MAGIC (this means that you will never see an uneaten lunchbox come home again!) :-)
- Cut It Out – Who can argue with the fact that a sandwich cut out in the shape of something (like a star or a dinosaur) is way more exciting than a regular ole’ square sandwich?? Seriously, just grab some cookie cutters (click link to purchase a huge and fabulous 101-piece cookie cutter set from Amazon!) and turn those healthy sandwiches into something irresistible! Change up the shapes according to holidays – like pumpkin shaped sandwiches in October or Gingerbread Men ones in December. Cookie cutters also work well for cutting pieces of cheddar cheese, ham, or turkey – include a bag of whole grain crackers or apple slices and you’ve got a magical meal!
- Change It Up – Sometimes a PB&J can grow rather boring… until you swap regular sandwich bread for a mini bagel or whole wheat tortilla! Suddenly PB&J has a whole new look and taste! Surprise your child by putting their turkey and cheese on an English Muffin or whole wheat pita! Use a whole wheat hot dog bun for tuna! And Pinwheel sandwiches are ALWAYS a hit when held together with a colorful pick – click the link for SUPER cute picks to inspire your children to eat! Varying the bread can really beat the lunchtime blahs!
- Make It Mini – Kids enjoy small things like mini-sized waffles, mini pancakes and mini-sized muffins. Remember this when putting together a lunchbox! A normal sized sandwich, for instance, may not be all that interesting to your child, but cut the same sandwich into fingers or bite sized pieces and chances are good it will be gobbled up in no time! Another idea for a mini lunch includes slicing small things like grapes and cherry tomatoes in half. Or what about cutting things in different shapes like carrot coins instead of carrot sticks?
- Dunk It In – What could be more magical than dipping your food in a delicious pool of yummy-ness?? Kids like foods they can dip, eat with their fingers, or add things to. Send some cookies along with a favorite yogurt for dipping, or roll some meat slices around a piece of string cheese and provide some honey mustard dressing as a dip. Hummus and fresh veggies is a tasty option as well as apple slices with strawberry dip. Including a little container of granola or dry cereal to add to a yogurt cup is incredibly appealing. Try some delicious dip recipes here!
- Make It Happy – Add some smiley faces to your child’s food! Spread some peanut butter or cream cheese on a rice cake. Use raisins or other dried fruit for facial features. Hair can be Chinese noodles or coconut flakes. This visual delight is hard to pack, but a Ziplock bag should do the trick.
- Color Code It – Train your kids to eat a colorful array of foods by having them choose one orange, green, and red food every day. Selections might include carrot sticks or an orange, green pepper strips or a Granny Smith apple, etc. Your kids might enjoy eating fruits and veggies more if they pick it out and it looks like a rainbow!
- I Made It – By far the most important thing to remember when planning lunches is the involvement of the recipients! Children are more apt to eat something that they have helped make. Kids of all ages can help with menu planning, shopping, and preparing meals! Here is an EXCELLENT free printable magnetic lunch chart from Martha Stewart that will REVOLUTIONIZE the way you and your child plan lunchboxes!!