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10 Easy & Fun Kid Lunch Ideas -- Plus snacks we LOVE

If you're like most parents, your creativity for school lunch making runs its course by the end of the second week of school.  Here are a couple fun ideas to help prevent lunchtime boredom that might help keep it fun for you too.  

PSA:  If you're a parent whose child buys lunch every day, please keep doing so. This is intended for parents who prefer to make kids' lunches and enjoy doing so.  If you're a parent who prefers to pack the same thing every day, kudos to you.  This is intended for parents who enjoy the art of lunch making.

 1.  Cream cheese and strawberry roll-ups.  Take a wrap or tortilla and spread cream cheese and sliced strawberries (preserves in a pinch), roll it up and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add a side of crinkle cut carrots or some raisins and a snack food of your choice.  Sometimes a different shape or fun cut vegetable jazzes up a meal and adds interest.  Also try this Veggie Tortilla Roll-Up and this Ham & Cheese Roll-Up.

2.  Mediterranean Plate.  For kids that love olives and hummus, this will be a hit.  It's simple too.  In a divided container, place hummus, olives of choice, sliced pita bread, cheese cubes and some grape tomatoes (these are great because you don't have to cut them unless the child is in preschool or there's a choking risk) 

3.  Lazy Hot Dog.  Super easy and super likely to gain kids' approval.  Take a leftover hot dog (or even one that hasn't been cooked... we know they've been cooked already) and slap it on a bun or wrap it in a tortilla.  Serve it with some fruit or veggie salad and some potato chips and it'll remind your child of fun summer cookouts.  

4.  Fruit & Cheese Skewers.  Placing food on skewers makes it a little more fun.  Alternate cheese and fruit on a couple skewers and pack it with a fruit dip if you like (skip the PB fruit dip if it's not ok for school).  Add some crackers or a snack on the side and you've got a balanced meal.

5.  Deconstructed Hard-Boiled Egg Sandwich.  Many young kids pull apart sandwiches, eating them one part at a time (or is that just mine?).  No need to fret, they're still getting all the nutrition in the sandwich and they'll continue to develop their table etiquette over time.  Consider packing a hard-boiled egg or two (sliced if preferable) along with a couple slices of bread, some fruit or vegetable, and a snack.  

6.  Leftover Pasta & Meatballs.  This one is as easy as it sounds.  And yes, your kids can eat it cold.  If you know your kids won't eat it cold, you could consider a hot lunch  thermus.  (Hint: making mini meatballs helps when packing and makes them easier to manage with little hands and mouths).

7.  Taco Plate.  This can be as simple as leftover Chipotle or Boloco or you can make your own.  In a divided container, place some cheese, black beans (or other beans), diced chicken (optional), cheese and sliced lettuce, diced tomatoes or other veggies.  Pack some tortilla chips along with guacamole and/or salsa and you're ready to spice up lunchtime! 

8.  Funny Face Sandwiches.  Have you tried cutting your kids' sandwiches into fun shapes?  This takes it to the next level.  Take a look at these Pinterest ideas ranging from easy to artistry.  Don't feel pressured to go for Vangogh; for kids, it's the fact that it's a surprise and YOU made it that counts.

9.  Charcuterie Plate.  The title would indicate this is intended for a more sophisticated palate BUT it's really just cheese, meat, and crackers.  In a divided container, place some pepperoni or salami (Applegate Farms makes a great nitrate-free one), some sliced cheese, olives (if your child likes them), grapes or sliced apples (hint: put a little oj on them to prevent browning) and crackers.

10.  Spiralized Anything.  Kids love spaghetti.  You know why?  Aside from being white and starchy (yes, this is a natural preference for many kids), it's fun!  Take a few veggies (at least one you know they like) and spiralize them.  Stick them in a container (maybe alongside another with some spaghetti) and some other "stringy" foods like string cheese or shoelace licorice to carry the theme through the meal.  (Hint:  kids may start with the licorice but they will likely move on from there).  

BONUS:  Snacks We LOVE!  These snacks win our hearts for their convenience, nutrition and kid approval ratings.

1.  Fruit and cheese.  A tried and true option, you can't beat a fresh apple or orange and a cheese stick.  To mix it up, try a berry or mixed fruit cup or slice a kiwi.  (Hint: add some protein or fat to a snack if your child is going more than an hour between meals)

2.  Cal-Organic baby carrots and dip (Hint: check out the kids' corner for some coloring pages and other fun veggie activities)

3.  Vermont Smoke & Cure meat sticks.  Unlike your traditional Slim Jim, these are nitrate-free and serve as a great high-protein snack that doesn't require refrigeration.

4.  Individual hummus and carrots.  Several companies (Sabra, Tribe and Wegman's to our knowledge) make individual hummus packets.  Wild Garden offers hummus packs that are easy for little hands to open and also has a combo snack pack which includes crackers or pita chips with hummus.  All parents need a few one-stop shop snacks to throw in backpacks.  

For more ideas, please contact us at info@metrowestnutrition.com

 


 

 

 

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