Tag Archives: reminder

Top 10 Lunchbox Tips

It’s not easy pack­ing school lunch.  In fact, it gets old and bor­ing r-e-a-l fast!   After a while, think­ing up orig­i­nal lunch­box ideas (that don’t break the bank) can feel impossible. 
From the very begin­ning, our mis­sion at Whole­some Tum­mies has been to make kids’ foods that are fresh, nutri­tious, and excit­ing.  In our quest to achieve this tri­fecta, we have come up with hun­dreds of ideas to cajole even the pick­i­est eater along the path to healthy eat­ing.  After all, it’s not nutri­tion unless they eat it.
With those goals in mind, here are our Top 10 Lunch­box Tips to help you pack fun and nutri­tious lunches for your child.   Happy packing!
1.     Get Cre­ative With Leftovers
Use left­over chicken to make a Chicken Cae­sar Wrap or a Chicken Soft Taco, or a Naked Chicken Parme­san.  Left­over din­ner veg­gies could make the base of a Pasta Pri­mav­era or even a Teriyaki Stir Fry.  Always try to repack­age them as a new dish so your child doesn’t get bored.  Don’t let left­overs go to waste!
2.     Make a Bento Box
What is a Bento Box?  A Bento Box is a multi-compartment box used to con­tain the dif­fer­ent courses of a meal.  Instead of pack­ing the tra­di­tional entrée and two sides, make a lunch out of a vari­ety of small snacks.  Think Tapas for kids!   Hard­boiled eggs, box of raisins, apple or other fresh fruit, hand­ful of crack­ers, tuna fish or chicken salad, pasta salad, veg­gies, dips, and more!  With a Bento, any­thing goes.
3.     Pack Home­made Soup
This is always a big hit with kids.  Kids love soup, espe­cially with some­thing crunchy like crou­tons of Asian noo­dles on the side that they can add when they are good and ready.  A whole wheat bread­stick or whole grain crack­ers go per­fectly on the side!  Visit our Feb­ru­ary blog post for some easy kid favorite soup ideas
4.     Pack a Hot Entrée
Kids tire of the same old – same old Turkey Sand­wich every day (not to men­tion most deli meats are loaded with nitrates, which we need to min­i­mize in our children’s devel­op­ing bod­ies).  Even Peanut But­ter & Jelly can get old day after day!  Keep lunch excit­ing by pack­ing a hot entrée — pasta, stir-fry, meat­balls, hot left­overs, even scram­bled eggs, French toast, or oat­meal in your child’s ther­mos for lunch.  If you have trou­ble keep­ing the food inside the ther­mos hot, make sure to pour with boil­ing water first and cover for at least 10 min­utes before fill­ing with hot food.
5.     Make Fresh Sides
Use a vari­ety of cre­ative, in-season choices every day so your child looks for­ward to the fresh sides.  Exam­ples include:  car­rots and cel­ery with ranch, red pep­per and hum­mus, apples and peanut but­ter, side gar­den salad, pears and vanilla yogurt, edamame, cucum­ber slices and herb cream cheese.  Keep them guess­ing!  You may want to invest in small Tup­per­ware con­tain­ers so you can keep sides sep­a­rate and eas­ily serve dips with fruits and veg­gies.  A prod­uct like Rubbermaid’s BPA-free Lunch Blox works great.
6.     Don’t Get Stale
Mix it up! Get cre­ative!  Don’t fall into a rut with lunch mak­ing.  The worst thing you can do for your child is give in to her demands to eat the same lunch menu every sin­gle day – doing so will guar­an­tee a picky eater.  Make a promise to your­self never to pack the same lunch within a sin­gle cal­en­dar week, and you’ll be well on your way to rais­ing an open-minded and adven­tur­ous eater.
7.     Sub­sti­tute Sandwiches
Instead of two slices of bread, try a wrap, a salad, or a hard taco shell.  Do slid­ers, crack­ers, or just roll-ups (no bread) to mix things up a bit.  Don’t let your child get too com­fort­able with what goes in the lunch­box – keep­ing them on their toes keeps lunchtime excit­ing, fun, and always a surprise!
8.     Go Around the World
Pick a day each week and go with an inter­na­tional theme – Mex­i­can, Asian, Cuban, Ital­ian, Indian, French, etc. – theme all ele­ments of the lunch­box that day and even include a note about the ori­gin of each.  Make it edu­ca­tional so your child learns some­thing new.
9.     Include a Surprise
Kids love sur­prises!  Even more so when it’s a spe­cial note from home, a favorite photo, a sticker, a reminder about an upcom­ing event, a spe­cial toy, or even a spe­cial treat.  Insert­ing just one sur­prise item inside the lunch box can help make your child’s day extra spe­cial.  After all, isn’t that what this is all about?
10.  Get Cre­ative with Drinks
This is one area of the lunch­box that often goes unmen­tioned.  Drinks can take a child’s lunch from mediocre to awe­some so make sure to stock your pantry with some spe­cial all-natural choices, includ­ing fla­vored seltzer waters, fil­tered juices, fruit smooth­ies, or spe­cial water bot­tles.  A spe­cial drink takes lunchtime to another level!
Feed­ing chil­dren well at lunchtime and at every meal offers a unique oppor­tu­nity to teach val­ues such as:  adven­ture, risk-taking, sus­tain­abil­ity, and com­pas­sion.  Expos­ing kids to these qual­i­ties at an early age instills con­fi­dence to try new expe­ri­ences in life, which in turn builds self-esteem — one of the great­est gifts we can give to our children.  
Chil­dren who care about the foods they eat are also role mod­els for their peers.  They are lead­ers at school and proud to take a stand for health­ful eat­ing and mak­ing good food choices.  These lead­er­ship qual­i­ties often carry over to other aspects of life as well. 
Make Lunch Mat­ter, and your child will make it mat­ter, too!