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Lunch box survival & recipes

Lisa is a mother of two and is currently working as a consultant and instructor at several Los Angeles Unified School District schools teaching "Kidding Around in the Kitchen" hands-on cooking classes such as "Cooks and Books," and "Food...

Lunches your kids will love

It can be a big challenge for parents to create lunches that are reasonably healthy and tasty. The more you involve your children in planning and preparing their school lunches, the more likely they will be to eat them. The place to begin is at the grocery store where you can involve your kids in the food selection, a process that may require a little compromise at first.

Lunches your kids will loveTips for lunch sanity

1. Browse with the kids through some kid-oriented cookbooks as well and let them try recipes that appeal to them. This also is a great way to expand the variety of foods your kids will eat. Experiment together at home, but pack the sure things for school.

2. Also try brainstorming a rough list of lunches that you both agree on and post this list of favorite foods on the refrigerator door, don't forget to include a few fun items that your kids can help prepare. My kids make and agree to eat what I pack as long as it's on the list. When kids do the planning, and at least some preparing for their own school lunches, they are less likely to complain. Once in a while, be sure to pack a lunchbox surprise like a note, a sticker, or a lollipop. It's a simple gesture that will let your kids know your thoughts are with them even when they are at school.

3. I have had the greatest lunchbox success when I have packed small amounts of a variety of foods. A special lunch might include a cheese tortilla wrapped in foil to keep it warm, a few taquitos, or Italy girl chicken bites, some leftover Spanish rice, and a handful of sweet cherry or grape tomatoes (the kids pretend they're candy and have persuaded other kids at the lunch table that they're popping sweet treats). If I include cookies or our homemade brownies, I usually throw in a few extras for sharing with friends. Remember, you are arming your kids for social success!

Up next: Get fun and tasty school lunch ideas >>

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