Creating cool school lunches - Hot, cold, bought or brought
Kids want a lunch that is fun and tastes good, while parents want to provide kids with a nutritious lunch. To help get kids excited about eating and packing healthier lunches that taste good and are fun, too, Registered Dietitian, Jodie Shield, MEd, provides her top tips on how to beat back-to-school brown bag boredom.
Invest in cool lunch equipment
Let your kids choose a lunchbox, insulated lunch bag or even a plain brown bag to express their style. A word to the wise, moms -- the LUNCHABLES Lunch Combinations Lunchroom Monitor Survey revealed that older kids (age 11-12) prefer brown bags (32 perent), while younger kids (age 8-10) prefer lunchboxes (58 percent). Half-size plastic baggies also are a great tool to have on hand to help teach kids about portion control and offer an easy way to stash kid friendly snacks in knapsacks.
Keep refrigerated items such as low-fat yogurt, cheese and lean deli meats fresh by including a frozen ice pack or freezing 100 percent juice boxes that you plan to include. Remember that the containers are likely to sweat while thawing, so wrap them well to prevent your child's lunch from becoming soggy.
Include their favorites
Pack your child's favorite foods in their lunch every now and then, whether it's cold pizza, pasta or chips -- just keep an eye on the portion size. All foods can fit into a healthy diet if eaten in moderation and in the right portion.
Dip or dunk
Kids love to dip their food because it gives pizzazz to regular items, such as carrots and apples. According to Lunchroom Monitor Survey, vegetables are second only to chicken nuggets when it comes to the favorite foods to dunk. So for dunking appeal, pack low-fat dressings and sauces with lunches.
Celebrate special days
Plan lunch menus around a special event. For example, pack an all-red lunch in celebration of Valentine's Day, include a fortune cookie to celebrate Chinese New Year or a cupcake on your child's birthday.
Transform healthy foods into tasty treats
Add variety to your kid's lunch by sending items, such as veggies, in a new way. If you are trying to get your child to eat celery, spread peanut butter on it.