Best-kept lunch secrets
Lunchtime inspiration can be difficult to come by day in and day out. It’s not easy to come up with a meal that travels well, is well-balanced and is accepted by some of the toughest food critics around -- your kids. If you’ve hit a creative wall and are looking for a few ideas to make lunch fun again, try some of these tips when you’re planning your family’s midday meals.
Packing a variety of brightly colored foods in your child's lunchbox is a fun and creative way to make sure your child reaps the benefits of a naturally balanced diet. The bright colors found in many fruits and vegetables help to signify the different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants contained within. To learn more about determining the right daily intake of fruits and veggies for you and your family, check out the recommendations provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at FruitsAndVeggiesMatter.gov.
Skewer and stack
Changing up lunch can be as simple as repackaging some of the same ingredients. Instead of making a sandwich, try making a lunchtime shish-kebab. Or restack the usual ingredients on crackers or sliced veggies, stuff a pita or hollowed out tomato, or roll up a tortilla with some of your family's favorite sandwich fillings.
Make it snack inspired
Build a lunch based entirely on snacks for a treat that is sure to excite your kids. Make trail mix with their favorite cereals, popcorn, dried fruits and maybe even a few chocolate chips. Pack a peanut butter and banana smoothie. Add cheese cubes, veggie slices, hard boiled eggs or any other healthy snack-time favorite. Pack each snack in a variety of colorful containers, making it even more fun for your child to unpack and explore.
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Just add dip
A little dip can go a long way in spicing up an otherwise ordinary lunch. Send along hummus with veggies, whipped cream cheese with pretzels or even honey and yogurt with fruit slices. Not only will this help to break up a boring lunch routine, but including favorite dips with new foods is a great way to encourage your children to try new things.
Offer up themed lunches to introduce your family to new flavors. On Monday, try a Mediterranean turkey wrap with roasted red peppers and feta. On Tuesday, try out teriyaki, and send chicken or beef skewers with a Japanese flare. Make a Mexican themed meal, and send your family with mini-burritos and mild salsa for dipping.