Healthy School Lunches for Picky Eaters

Healthy School Lunches for Picky Eaters

First day jitters, the excitement of seeing friends, and the enthusiasm for all things new (school supplies, backpack, lunchbox) are back to school memories we all have.  We also may remember the dread of opening brown paper bags, luckily kids have a lot more options for lunch than we ever did. And with a little planning, we can make sure that they also have the fuel they need for the busy school days ahead! 

Aim for Color!  We eat with our eyes as well as our taste buds. Strawberry Shortcake Cookie ParfaitStrawberry Shortcake Cookie Parfait, pack the cookie crumble separately. Kids can add just before enjoying! 

Plan: Ask kids what they would like to have for lunch and what their friends pack that they would like.  Having input from the child can take out the guesswork and the frustration of opening a lunch box at the end of the day with untouched food.   

Observe: What foods are kids selecting when eating out? Wrap sandwiches, for example, are a great twist on the traditional sandwich and are popular restaurant items.   

Innovate: New product innovations and lunchbox storage options can make a parent’s job easier.   Single serving packages of fresh fruit, prepped for open and enjoyment, are perfect for lunchboxes.  And freezable lunch sacks help eliminate food safety concerns. Ham and Veggie Egg Cups
Ham and Veggie Egg Cups

The following are suggestions from busy parents who have solved.  

For the picky eater:  Find new ways to serve traditional favorites, like pizza or mac n’ cheese, and opportunities to boost the nutrition, like adding fruit or veggies, to the recipe.   Additionally, using cookie cutters to shape sandwiches can add some pizzazz.    Mini Bagel Pizza Snacks
Mini Bagel Pizza Snacks

Pack in the protein with a mini Cabot cheddar cheese serving and a Vermont Smoke and Cure meat stick. The perfect snack for sustaining your kiddos all the way through their busy day. 

For the “I don’t want my food to touch” child:  Box it bento-style.  A lunch that includes small amounts of several different things in separate compartments is a great option, especially for younger children to keep lunch exciting and less messy.   The compartments can be a quick visual to ensure all food groups are represented. Healthy Snacks To Go
Healthy Snacks To Go

Not-so-fond of fruits and veggies:  Add a dip.  Hummus, homemade ranch dip made with Greek-style yogurt, or a sweet yogurt dip served fruit skewers can add some pizzazz. 

 Maple Yogurt Dip with Apples
Maple Yogurt Dip with Apples

*And finally don’t forget to add a note on a napkin, a small reminder to your child of how much you love them and that you have the best intentions at heart. 

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