The count down is on! Only TWO weeks until back to school. With back to school, comes earlier bedtimes, routine schedules and making lunches for school. If you are anything like me you DREAD making school lunches! The problem is coming up with creative, healthy lunch that is pleasing for both ME (i.e. nutritious) and them (i.e. it ends up in their bellies rather then the trash can!). This delicate balance is one that Moms everywhere have fought since the beginning of time! Over the years, I’ve learned that nagging is not the way to approach this situation, but rather attack the situation with a plan and a strategy.
TIPS FOR MAKING “THE COOLEST LUNCH”
1. What the lunch comes in is as important as the lunch itself – How many of us Moms make ourselves brown bag lunches for work? Do you dread opening the bag come lunch time? A year ago, my children purchased me this cool, pink leopard print lunch bag. Although it contains the same food I would normally eat inside, for some reason opening my lunch is always a wild adventure. The same goes for your kids. A brown paper bag lunch is more like to end up in the trash compared to a cool angry bird one!
2. Make it appealing – Creative = Consumed. In my experience, the more interesting the lunch is, the more likely my child is to eat it. Whether it be using a cookie cutter to cut his sandwich out in the shape of a dinosaur or adding a smiley face to his fruit, the more unique it is, the more he’ll eat.
3. Ask for you kids their opinion – I know the evening time is a rush between after school activities and homework, but take the time on the drive to karate and ask your kids what they would like in their lunch. If they tell you want, they are more likely to eat it! It’s also a good opportunity to discuss nutrition and healthy eating!
4. Send Leftovers – I don’t know about you, but my kids LOVE leftovers, especially pasta. If you are cooking something for dinner that could safely be taken to school the next day, why not cook a bit extra and send it?
5. Variety is the spice of life! – Do you like eating the same thing day in and day out (I do! but that’s besides the point!)? Sending a different meal each day makes it more interesting and more like to be eaten. Create a 5 day meal plan and swap with a friend. You’ll end up with two weeks of lunch time meals to mix and match!
6. More is less – This one took me awhile to figure out. When I first started making lunches, I would make one main meal with two sides then send 4 snacks. I was always afraid that my child would be sitting in class with a rumbling belly rather than paying attention because I didn’t send enough to eat. After awhile, I realized he was only eating the snacks in his lunch and leaving his main meal behind! Now I send 2 snacks (one for am and one for pm recess) and a main meal with a fruit. This is more then he would eat if he spent the day at home, so I know he won’t starve.
7. Quick easy snack– Remember recess time? You had 15 minutes of glorious freedom? To a child, that goes by way too fast. Although they may be hungry, they don’t want to spend the entire time eating. By providing a quick snack, they can eat and still enjoy time to run around.
8. Those who make it, eat it – I don’t know about you, food always tastes better when I cook it. Maybe its because I appreciate all of the effort I put into it? I find this technique works great with my boys. If they make it, they are more likely to eat it!
9. Themed lunches – Numbers day, Halloween, etc., I haven’t tried this yet, but my friend swears that when she puts a little effort into her kids lunch and makes everything correspond, her kids are more likely to eat it. Huh! Worth a try!
10. Add a letter of love – This one is my favourite! I love leaving little messages in my kids lunches. It can be a simple “I love you!” or it can be a poem, story or drawing. Not only does it put a smile on their face, but they eat more too!
As I mentioned before, my kid’s are picky eaters! Its not that they want a tons of junk food (although, trust me if it was offered to them, they wouldn’t turn it down!), but rather they only like SOME of the food groups. My boys will gouge themselves silly on fruit (DS5 can eat up to 3-5 apples a day!), but when it comes to vegetables they are SO PICKY! Usually vegetables are consumed in small handfuls, like carrots, or forced upon when cooked into something, like spaghetti sauce! If vegetables are sent to school in my sons’ school lunches, they are guaranteed to come home. Sometimes, I think my boys would starve rather then eat them. As a result, I’m constantly looking for new ways to get the goodness of vegetables into my boys.
Mott’s Fruitsations + Veggie to the rescue!
This back to school season, I’m armed and ready! Mott’s has brilliantly come up with a sneaky way to incorporate fruits and veggies into a snack and your kids will never know! Let me introduce you to Mott’s Fruitsations + Veggie Fruit snacks! They are just like regular fruit snacks but with the additional nutritional benefits of veggies. It is a HUGE win for Mom!
A blind taste test, fruits + veggies and a Mom approved product, what’s not to love? This back to school season, make lunch time fun and nutritious with Mott’s Fruitsations + veggie fruit snacks. Your kids will thank you!
Visit the Life Made Delicious Facebook Page and WIN! They are giving away three $500 gift cards until September 8th, 2013. While you’re there, get a .50 cent off coupon for Mott’s Fruitsations + Veggie Fruit Snacks while quantities last!