Friday, August 21, 2009
Back-to-School Lunch Tips & Tricks
Its Back to School time already! To help you get back into the lunch packing routine, G is 4 Girl came up with some back-to-school lunching ideas to make kids more eager to eat the healthy stuff and moms lives easier:
Get Dippin' - No, not in the pool. That's summer stuff! Kids like dipping things--and not just chicken nuggets. Fruits and veggies go down easier with something to plunk them in: peanut butter, Cool Whip, ranch dressing, hummus. Discover how some carrot sticks and a little Tupperware cup of your dip of choice can go a long way!
Let the Kids Help - Let them pick out a cool lunch box or insulated bag to store their meal in and pack lunches together the night before. Letting your kids help and help choose what they'll be eating might make them more interested in taking a bite in the lunchroom.
Buy a Thermos - In the "old" days (or our generation) thermoses came with the lunch boxes. Not anymore. So invest in one. On a cold day, nothing gives a kid a sense of home more than a hot cup of homemade soup!
Buy Tupperware - According to HGTV.com, prepared lunches (think Lunchables) are high in calories and low in nutrients. In addition, they cost about $16 per pound! Get small, fun containers to put healthy foods in that they can stack and match without spending a fortune on something prepared for you.
Mom Meet Freezer - Make up a bunch of peanut butter or turkey sandwiches and freeze them for use later in the week.
Spice up Sandwiches - Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into fun shapes. Or ditch the usual Wonder Bread and try pitas or whole grain tortillas for rollup sandwiches.
Bye Bye Brown Bananas - School lunchroom ladies everywhere say one item that often ends up in the trash is bruised fruit (beat up bananas, squished peaches, etc.). Get your kids their daily servings of fruit by slicing up fruit and mixing it in a cup of lowfat vanilla yogurt. Buy a large container of yogurt and you'll save money over the individual, pre-made cups. They're healthier too!
Personalize It - One of my best memories of school lunches was getting a daily note written on a napkin by my mom. She worked full-time and early, and often we didn't see each other in the morning before school. It was nice to open up my lunch box and find a special message from her inside. It helped me get through what sometimes seemed like long days away from home! Thanks Mom!
For lunch box recipes, check out About.com's school lunch page.
'Til next time,