Child Approved Lunch Ideas For The School Year

Kids' school days are packed with learning, laughing and lots of fun. To get the most out their time in class, it's important their bodies and minds are properly fueled. Packing a healthy lunch is one of the easiest ways parents can support their child's education during the day while they can't be there. Healthy foods keep distracting hunger pains at bay while providing essential nutrients to support focus and learning.

Many traditional healthy foods aren't necessarily kid-friendly, which leaves moms and dads wondering how to pack a wholesome lunch that will get eaten. Fortunately, a little creative thinking and a few simple lunchbox tricks can help you create tasty meals that will fuel your kids throughout the school day. Consider these seven smart ideas and be inspired to create your own kid-approved combinations.

Think outside the loaf: Sandwiches are a lunchbox staple, but that doesn't mean you're limited to two pieces of bread. To add variety and boost nutrient intake, incorporate fun variations. For example, use whole-grain tortillas to create wraps, or, go one step further and cut up the rolls for bite-size "sushi" that makes it fun for lunch. Another idea: use whole-wheat waffles as the sandwich ends and fill with peanut butter and banana or cream cheese and apples.

Colorful creations: Ever notice how everything associated with kids has tons of color? Children are attracted to vivid hues, and you can use this to your advantage when you pack lunches. Put a rainbow in every lunch by wrapping colorful produce such as green cucumber, cherry tomatoes, purple plums, orange carrots and yellow peppers. You'll keep things visually stimulating, and the various colors of fresh foods mean they are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals.

kid healthy snacksFantastic freeze-dried fruit: Fresh fruit isn't always an option, and that's when delicious freeze-dried snacks can save the day. The perfect complement to any healthy lunch or the ideal lightweight, portable snack, fruit comes in many single-serving varieties to keep lunchboxes interesting, including banana, apple, pineapple, and pear.

Breakfast for lunch: Is it a backward day? No, but you can get a little crazy by shaking things up when you pack breakfast foods for lunch. Kids will grin with joy as they open their pack to see their favorite whole grain cereal with a side of milk or muffins with secret healthy ingredients like fruit or shredded veggies. You might even consider your child's favorite breakfast sandwich or a yogurt parfait as a wholesome lunch option.

Slurp up soup: Cold lunch doesn't necessarily need to be cold. Get a reusable insulated container and get ready to delight those kid's taste buds with vitamin-rich soup. Whether you choose a hearty alphabet soup bought from the store or decide to make a batch at home, look for options packed with different vegetables and limited salt. Just heat up in the morning, and it will be ready and waiting to come lunch time. Warm soup satisfies the stomach while warming the heart.

Dip and munch: If you have a hesitant kid who is known to snub their nose at fruits and veggies, consider making eating more fun by packing a side of dip. Children adore the act of dipping, and it makes eating a fun, interactive activity. A little yogurt will encourage kids to gobble up fruits like orange wedges, apple slices or halved strawberries. Low-fat salad dressing or hummus is the perfect pairing for veggie straws including carrots, celery or sweet peppers.

Protein pick-me-up: Protein helps kids feel fuller for longer, getting them through those long school days. It's essential to pack a protein source in lunch, but meats aren't your only option. Eggs are high in protein, so try hard-boiled or scrambled and pack in an insulated container. Other kid-friendly foods high in protein include cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, beans and many nuts or nut butter.

You are what you eat, so it's important to choose your children's foods wisely.