Back to school time means back to the lunch box packing routine for many moms. Picky eaters can make this task a challenge. Here is some healthy mix and match lunch ideas that will have your child looking forward to opening her lunch box at lunch time. Each lunch should contain a lean protein, a serving of whole grains, a serving of fruits or veggies, and perhaps a very small treat.
- Have a PB & J fan but want to avoid boredom? Try substituting a whole wheat bagel for the bread. Add a side dish from the fruit and veggies category.
- Salad is not just for grownups! Try packing your child a lunch of fresh salad greens topped with protein rich slivered almonds and hard boiled eggs, plus his favorite salad veggies (sliced cucumber, tomatoes, etc).
- If your picky eater loves lunch meat, try choosing lower sodium lunch meats. For variety, substitute a whole wheat pita for the bread and stuff the pita with the lower sodium lunch meat, cheese and lettuce.
- Make it a wrap! Wrap up some lunch meat in a whole wheat wrap but use guacamole instead of mayo.
- Put fresh fruit, such as pineapple chunks and strawberries, on a skewer and alternate fruit pieces with cheese squares. This healthy lunch main dish takes care of two food categories at once and also is a fun way to teach patterns. Pair with some crackers and hummus for a complete meal.
- If your child is an applesauce or mandarin orange fan, buying large containers of the favorite fruit snack item and dishing out a serving for his lunch box into a reusable, sealable 1.2 oz. BPA- free plastic container will save you money. To keep the fruit snack healthy, buy canned fruit packed in 100% fruit juice and unsweetened applesauce.