Do you feel your child’s lunch lacks variety? Here are some ideas for lunches with variety, low cost,and high on the enjoyment scale.
When Joey started kindergarten I was concerned about a lot of things. Getting the right school supplies, filling out the paperwork, coordinating buses and pickups and most of all making sure my son would be ok on that first day.
Over the summer I started thinking about lunches. What the heck do you pack in the lunch box? I’m lucky that my son likes and can eat peanut butter. Peanut butter sandwiches are easy, but what else?
I am not a pre-packaged person. Not only did I need lunches that my son would eat, but also had to sit at room temperature for nearly 4 hours, have some variety, be healthy and pass my green standard. Here are some of my lunch box fixes.
I purchased a small, round thermos container at Target. When I’m preparing lunch I turn on a teakettle to boil hot water. I pour the hot water into the thermos to make it hot. Now I have a decision to make. I can heat up ravioli, chicken nuggets, mac n’ cheese and hot dogs. If the food and the thermos are hot, the food stays hot until lunch. My son has recently become addicted to taco meat. I’ve put in leftover sloppy Joe meat as well.
Joey eats just about anything with ketchup. Hot dogs and chicken nuggets need ketchup. I purchased a 6 pack of small plastic containers which I fill with a tablespoon of ketchup. Don’t forget to put in a fork to help with dipping! You can fill a few containers at once and store them in the fridge so they are on hand for a future lunch.
In addition to peanut butter sandwiches, my son loves peanut butter apples. Put a tablespoon of peanut butter in a small container, cut up some apples include a small plastic knife or spreader and you’ve got a hearty lunch. For variety, put some saltines in a small container for peanut butter and crackers.
The thermos works for cold food too. Put ice cubes in it to cool it down first, or store in the refrigerator. Your child might enjoy cold chicken or cold, cut up cheese cubes. I have some plastic fish shaped ice cubes that I put under the food in the thermos to keep things cold.
I use those small plastic containers for cut up fruit, chips, crackers, raisins and the best part, dessert! It takes very little time to cut up an apple and split it into 3 portions. Store it in the fridge and use one a day in the lunch. It takes less than five minutes to make instant chocolate pudding and split into 3 portions.
Fill a small container with M & M’s, skittles or a couple of chocolate kisses. You can buy larger packages of candies or cookies and throw a handful in a small container. If you have the time make your own rice crispy treats or mini blueberry muffins. One Sunday we made cut out sugar cookies. Throughout the week I would frost a sugar cookie and put it in the lunch box. I then added a small container of chocolate or sugar sprinkles. Decorating that cookie was the highlight of lunch!
One of the best parts of my son’s lunch is the surprise. He enjoys opening his lunch to see several small containers. He likes adding the peanut butter, sprinkling the sugar and dipping the ketchup. These are great manipulatives for his little fingers.
Lunches don’t have to be prepackaged and disposable. With a little effort you can make healthy lunches with variety that your child will love. Maybe you’ll even save a little money too!
Published in: Family