Coming up with lunches for the kids can be a daunting task, particularly if you have a fussy eater. It is only made more complicated when your kids don't seem to want to eat anything that is remotely healthy yet you can't send your kids to school with chips and candy. So what can you do?
There are simple changes that can be made to your child's favorite foods to make them healthier, more fun and much more appreciated.
The humble sandwich
There are hundreds of things that you can do to modify sandwiches to make them healthier. A simple change in bread can increase the nutritional value of your sandwich significantly. By using artisan bread such as a Manchester Malt bread or a whole grain option, you are increasing the value of the bread while adding flavor. If your child is nervous or fussy, there are enhanced bread that have all the nutritional value of a whole wheat bread hidden in a standard white bread.
Another option for making lunch healthy and fun can be the Asian lunchbox, the Bento box. These boxes come in multiple little containers so that you can give a full meal with salad, rice/potatoes, meat, vegetables and fruit all in one handy little box. Often one or more compartments will be insulated, so the cold objects stay cold and the hot stay hot. This is a nice feature if you are giving them Thanksgiving dinner leftovers as the gravy will still be warm and they can enjoy a nice warm meal on a not-so-warm day.
My favorite option is to involve the child. Ask them what they would like but do so with some control. After all, if you do not put parameters on what they would like for lunch, you will end up with responses of popsicles, pizza, and fast-food. None of which is particularly healthy nor possible which will lead you to saying "no" which the child will argue with. Instead, ask them if they would like their sandwich cut in a special manner (crusts off, diagonal, etc.). Ask if there is a special vegetable or fruit they would like to try that day. Ask them to help in pouring the dip into a container for the vegetables or putting the sandwich into the bag. These little tasks may not seem like much, but to your child you are giving them the ability to take some control of their lunch that goes a long way.
Feeding kids healthy food can be exhausting, frustrating and require trickery and imagination, however, with a little patience you will not only succeed in providing your child with a healthy lunch, but also in creating a deeper understanding of your child's likes and dislikes