Back-to-school season means the quest for new lunch recipes has begun! Plus, you want these ideas to be easy and nutritious, which can be hard to find. Check out these lunch box ideas that will have even the pickiest little eaters hooked.
Healthy lunch box ideas
In general, adding in fruit and veggies to lean protein keeps kids energized and ready to get through the day. So, start with that layout as your base. And from there, adding dips, additional sides or fun serving methods can help to encourage your child.
Also, you don’t always have to pack a main entrée. You can pack a variety of smaller nibbles to make up a full meal for your child. Change this up week to week or day to day as you want.
Recipes to try out
- Salad on a stick: thread lunch meat, cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and olives on a stirring straw. This is a little safer than a wood skewer. Include a small container of Italian or ranch dressing for dipping.
- Lettuce wraps: spread cream cheese on leaf lettuce and add deli meat, cheese or thin veggies strips. Roll up or add a drizzle of your child’s favorite condiment.
- Pita sandwich: stuff a whole wheat pita with veggies, shredded cheese and diced chicken. Add hummus or dressing.
- Fresh fruit PB sandwich: add slices of fruit to a peanut butter sandwich to bring it up a notch.
School lunch ideas specifically for picky eaters
When you have a picky eater, lunch is a struggle. Try to recreate the foods your child enjoys at home in a lunch box-friendly format. Think about calorie-rich options if they don’t eat much. Nut butters, dairy and adding healthy fats, like avocado, can help to meet their caloric needs in fewer bites.
Also, picky eaters often like to snack. Pack a bento-style box with a variety of options in bite-sized pieces. Think crackers, rice cakes, chunks of cheese, fruit, diced veggies and a dip. Also, if your child likes smoothies, pack one in a thermos.
In general, if your picky eater only eats a few things, it makes sense to pack these things at lunch so that you know they will eat them. Then, you can leave trying new things for dinner at home when you can be there to support.
What to pack in your child’s lunch box besides food
Be sure to include a napkin, a wet wipe to clean off sticky fingers as well as silverware, if it’s going to be needed. Add a cold pack to keep things chilled, or a thermos to keep something at the right temperature – hot or cold.