cooking tips

Lunch Box Ideas that Won’t Get Traded

We’re betting that kids across the country will agree: when it comes to packing school lunches, PB&J every day can be just plain boring. Not that we don’t love the classics, but fun and interesting new lunch box ideas can be the key to making sure lunch lands in tummies instead of cafeteria trash cans.

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Let Kids Weigh In

The single best way to get kids excited about lunch? Let them have a say in what they eat. From shopping to chopping, offer them options and let them make choices about their food. Pique kids’ interest even more by issuing a challenge: pick from each food group, try something they’ve never heard of before, or include all the colors of the rainbow.

Healthy Lunchbox Options

Step away from the sandwich. Liven up lunchboxes with something a little different from our list of easy options:

  • bocconcini and halved grape tomatoes
  • pita chips with hummus
  • pepperoni and cheese cubes
  • pasta salad with cannellini beans and diced green pepper
  • ham and swiss rollups with honey mustard dipping sauce
  • chilled peas and diced ham, tossed with Italian dressing and Cheddar shreds
  • tuna salad with crackers and pickles
  • chicken salad with apples, grapes or cranberries, along with whole grain crackers for scooping

Keep It Cool

When it comes to kids and food, “delicious” is all in the details. Small cookie cutters can add a personal touch to not only sandwiches, but cheese slices, fruits, and more. Don’t have a lunch container with compartments? Use fun printed paper cupcake liners to keep foods separated, bento-style. Berries in one, peas in another – It’s an inexpensive way to up the awesome factor, especially around the holidays. Even a sticker or two can liven up any lunch.

And speaking of keeping things cool, don’t forget to include a freezer pack or a frozen drink to keep foods cold until lunchtime.

Treats and Sweets

Where do sweets fit in to a healthful, balanced lunch? The addition of a small treat can go far in making the meal a success, but candy and sugary snacks shouldn’t become an expected part of each day. Toss in a favorite on special occasions, and stick with small yet nutritious treats for everyday “dessert.”

  • trail mix
  • raisins
  • dried pineapple
  • fruit leather
  • orange slices
  • apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon
  • yogurt tube
  • toasted coconut chips
  • watermelon spears

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