Packing lunch for the kids can be as straightforward or as complex as you make it. If you’re all about the tried-and-true basics, then you really can’t go wrong with their favorite sandwich, some fruit, a snack, and a beverage. But if the kids have expressed interest in branching out or if you just want to indulge your creative side a little bit, you might be tempted to fill their lunch boxes with different meals from time to time.
What’s the solution? It’s all about balance. There should be a sufficient protein source included to give them the energy boost they need in the middle of an active school day. And there should also be some vegetables, fruits, and grains in the mix to create a healthy meal that’s as appealing to you as it is to them. Here are a few ideas that are simple to pack, filled with nutrients, easy for the kids to eat, and stable enough to last until lunchtime.
A sandwich is an age-old favorite, but if your kid is ready to venture out of their comfort zone — or you’re just ready to shake things up a little bit in the kitchen — then a wrap offers the perfect middle ground. It’s similar to a sandwich in that there’s a carbohydrate component coupled with a variety of fillings. But it’s just different enough to make things interesting for both of you.
So what should you pack inside your little boy’s or girl’s lunch bag? This may be easy if your kid is pretty committed to, say, peanut butter and jelly. Spread peanut butter and their jelly of choice inside a flour tortilla and roll it up. But if they’re less about sweet flavors and prefer a savory filling, you can branch out a little bit more. Try adding thinly sliced ham or turkey, some cheese or cream cheese, and baby spinach or carrots into a tortilla and, again, roll it all up. Secure these rolls with a toothpick if necessary so they keep their shape or wrap them in foil so your child can cleanly eat it from the packaging.
“Lunch on a stick” has a fun ring to it, and it can be pretty exciting for your little one to unpack their lunch and discover something completely unexpected. The beauty of making kebabs is that it’s exceptionally easy — and you can have a little fun with it by mixing up the recipes and creating different types for variety. Another advantage is that they’re relatively mess-free, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with a stubborn stain on those kids’ jeans out of the blue.
If you aren’t sure where to start with your skewers, focus on grouping similar ingredients together. Stack fruits onto sticks for a sweet treat. You can also add a soft, no-bake cookie to it to mix things up a little bit. Or stack squares of sliced turkey, your child’s favorite cheese, and bits of apple onto the skewer. Want to keep it really simple? Add deli meat, a vegetable such as cucumbers or cherry tomatoes, and some cheese. You can even add different kinds of sticks to their lunch box so they can enjoy a little bit of everything.
Stuffing pita pockets with various ingredients is an easy way to make lunchtime more exciting for your kids. It’s filling, satisfying, and makes a fun alternative to traditional sandwich bread. They’re also a little less messy thanks to the compartmentalized bread. What to pack inside a girls’ or boys’ lunch box? There are lots of ways to make this meal appetizing and friendly for kids.
If they’re all about the classics, try this fun twist on an old favorite. Spread peanut butter inside and stuff the pita bread with slices of banana and strawberries. Add a touch of honey if you want to ramp up the sweetness a little bit. If your children love experimenting with different ingredients, fill the pita with fresh vegetables. Roasted red peppers, grilled eggplant, diced cucumber, and a sprinkle of feta cheese make a mouth-watering Greek-style treat they’ll enjoy.
Ultimately, kids want something tasty and filling for lunch — and parents just want to make sure their little ones eat every bite and get their fill of healthy ingredients. The best school lunches are those that don’t make a huge mess, and that fit comfortably into their lunchboxes. Your kid already has a packed backpack to carry, so opt for a streamlined, easy-carry lunch bag or box that easily holds everything they need to enjoy a satisfying midday meal. What better way to ensure that both of you are happy?