If Tater Tots, pizza, and vending machine fare are on the menu at your child’s school, it’s time to reinvent the brown-bag lunch with tasty, healthy options and no-waste packaging. Take a look at our suggestions and make-ahead recipes.
Growing bodies need fuel—the healthier the better. Make the wise choice for your family and the environment by selecting organically grown foods and ingredients for your child’s lunchbox. Certified organic items reduce kids’ exposure to harmful pesticide residue, and the number of fresh and packaged organic options continues to rise.
To make sure your kids eat what you pack, involve them in selecting foods—provided they’re nutritious choices, of course. A sandwich every day can get boring fast, so try rice cakes with almond butter, hummus with flatbread, or muffins with apple butter. A hard-boiled egg makes a great meat alternative and is packed with protein. Kids love dipping things, so pack fresh fruits and vegetables with a variety of dips. With fruit, try yogurt or applesauce. Veggies can get a dunk with low-fat ranch dip or hummus. To make lunch preparation that much easier, cut vegetables at the beginning of the week and keep them in the fridge. Carrot and celery sticks will stay fresh longer if you store them in water for a couple of days inside the refrigerator.
To make lunch a meal youngsters look forward to, include a healthy treat. You can ask them to help choose it, but sneak in a surprise every now and then for fun. Ideas include high-fiber cereal, granola bars, homemade pudding, trail mix, or dried fruit.