When it comes to school lunches, having some tips and tricks to keep meals interesting is a must. For about two years, I was lucky enough to have boys that liked the exact same lunch every day, but suddenly those days ended and Zackary and Benjamin decided variety was the spice of life as far as school lunches were concerned.
That means that with a new school year quickly approaching, the time has come for me to start making plans and coming up with fun lunch ideas that will ensure my boys are fueled for the day ahead.
Luckily, making a fun lunch doesn’t have to be time consuming! Simple switches can make a big difference when it comes to the overall appeal of a child’s lunch. Looking for some ideas to help you make those meals fun and interesting? These are my favourite three easy tricks for making mom-approved and kid-friendly lunches!
Ditch the Bread
When my boys suddenly stopped eating the meat sandwiches that they had loved for so long, I wasn’t sure why. I asked them if they wanted different condiments or toppings on their sandwiches and they both requested custom sandwiches that they were sure they’d like…yet the sandwiches still came back with just a few bites missing.
Then one day I ran out of sandwich bread and used multigrain tortillas to make wraps instead. Both boys devoured the wraps and requested them again. That’s when I realized that sometimes all it takes to make lunch more fun is putting the bread away. Since then, I’ve also sent the boys with flatbread or with whole-grain crackers, meat and cheese, and every time they eat their entire main course.
Get a Little Sweet
Adding a sweet treat is a sure-fire way to get kids excited about lunch. The secret is to ensure that you don’t go overboard. We have a rule in our house that if my boys don’t finish their main course at school, they lose their treat the next day. The bonus of a fun snack at the end of their meal means they’re more likely to finish everything I pack for them.
This year, Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie are the whole family’s sweet snack of choice. Made with real fruit and vegetable juice and no artificial flavours or colours, each package of fruit snacks contains just eighty calories. Best of all, both boys love them so much that they’re always more likely to finish the rest of their meal when these sweet treats are their reward!
Shape Up That Lunch
It’s a fact for children everywhere that the most boring foods become fun when they’re in a new shape. At the same time, I don’t want to spend a bunch of extra time cutting food into fancy shapes every day!
That’s why I decided to raid my cookie cutter collection for a solution. Small cookie cutters can be used to cut deli meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables into fun shapes that kids will love. Even simple geometric shapes like circles, squares and triangles are fun for kids to stack and eat, with the added bonus of being simple for parents to prepare.
No matter how much I plan, I know that every once in a while, there will be days when my boys get the same boring sandwich with a few snacks as their lunch. And there will be other days when I don’t have the time or energy to get creative and send them off to school with money for pizza or chicken finger sandwiches instead.
But with these easy tricks, I know that most days my boys will be eating lunches packed with foods they love eating. And when packing those lunches is so quick and easy for me, that’s a parenting win as far as I’m concerned!