Plain old bread has been done a million times. Try rolling meat, cheese and veggies inside of a whole grain tortilla or stuffing them into a pita. Not only are these options more fun for youngsters to eat, but they're more nutritious.
You can also use bagels, English muffins, crackers, biscuits and croissants as an alternative to bread slices. One more trick to try: Liven up the standard peanut butter and jelly by slathering it between waffles or pancakes. (Get a recipe for a waffle sandwich here.) This is your chance to get creative!
A thermos can be used for so much more than soup. Warm up spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, or whatever you had for dinner last night. Place it in a thermos and it'll still be warm and ready to eat at lunch time. During the winter months, fill it with hot chocolate for a yummy warm-up – just make sure you pack lots of paper cups for sharing!
If your child gets to have a part in creating his food, he'll probably have a lot more fun eating it. Instead of a ready-made sandwich, send him all the parts and let him assemble it before he digs in. Send the meat, cheese and veggies in separate plastic bags, along with bread or a tortilla. Throw in a couple packets of your child's favorite condiment and he's ready to start building.
Ice packs do a good job of keeping cold items cold, but they also take up precious space in less-than-roomy lunch boxes. Instead, freeze a bottle of water and pack it in your child's lunch box. It will keep the cold items cold, and be thawed enough to drink but still cold when time lunch time rolls around. Mix it up by adding single serving packets of powdered drink mix to the lunchbox – he'll have a good time mixing it up himself.
Make sure your kid knows you were thinking about him when you packed his lunch, and that you're still thinking about him as he eats. Add a card, note or drawing to her lunch box as a pick-me-up to get her through a rough day. Place notes in plastic bags to keep them from getting wet. Things like stickers and new pencils or markers will have her rushing through recess to get back to class!
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