While it's important to send your children to school with a healthy lunch packed with the nutrition they need to learn, grow and play, it's also important to make sure they eat it. To ensure your child's nutritious meal doesn't go to waste, you can encourage interest and appetites with a few of these simple strategies:
- Sit down once a week and plan lunches together. Then encourage them to pack their own lunch. If kids have a vested interest in their lunch, they will be more likely to eat it. Let them watch you pack your lunch to set a good example.
- Celebrate special days. Plan lunch menus around special events. For example, pack an all-red lunch in honor of Valentine's Day or include a fortune cookie to celebrate Chinese New Year.
- Try new foods. Bring your children to the grocery store to pick out some new fruits and vegetables. This will encourage an interest in trying new foods and may be helpful for picky eaters.
- Add some veggies for a nutrition-packed lunch. Try mixing fruits and veggies together in one container, so a little sweet from the fruit rubs off on the veggies, such as sliced baby carrots mixed with a few raisins or dried cranberries or celery sticks with apple slices.
- Switch up the same old sandwich routine. Try making sandwiches with mini whole-grain pitas, English muffins or tortillas for a fun change. Whole-grain cereals and whole-grain crackers also make for nutritious lunch options.
- Invest in fun lunch containers. A quality insulated lunch bag in a fun print and insulated food container will enable your children to take a wider variety of foods for lunch, such as chilled pasta salad or warm soup. Also, remember to use an ice pack with their lunch to keep cold foods cold, reducing the risk of food poisoning.