How to Pack a Right Lunch For Your Kids
At the start of a new term, children may rue the thought of books and homework, but for moms, it’s the lunch box that’s the biggest source of concern. Over time, packing the tiffin turns into a cumbersome chore, if you feel that way, is it any surprise that children bring home unfinished lunch boxes? However, even a sandwich or fruits can be artfully packed to look interesting.
All you need is time, effort and creativity! Here’s how to pack a right lunch for your kids.
Plan in Advance
Preparation, organization, and a thoughtful approach will stand you in good stead. Packing lunch boxes can be a mammoth task with most moms feeling frayed. Kids want variety, mothers want nutrition, and there’s hardly any time. We can ease things up by planning and making lists of favourite dishes and adding vegetables/healthy stuff to them. Create menus and detailed grocery lists, and shop ahead of time. A weekly menu displayed prominently keeps stress levels at bay.
Involve The Kids
Planning lunch menus isn’t solely a parent’s task. Make children a part of the planning by discussing options and sharing ideas, this keeps them engaged. On days when the lunch box needs simple assembling, they can lend a hand. Teens can help peel or cut vegetables and fruits, boil eggs, and pack boxes. Your kids will give you some interesting inputs to help you fill up their lunch box! This way you can also prepare them for new introductions like a new recipe or food item.
What does a healthy lunch for a child involve? A variety of foods from all groups (proteins, carbs, and fruits and vegetables). Think colour and nutrient-dense foods, and you’ll never go wrong. Some lunch box staples include eggs, cheese, salads, idlis, hummus, fruits, quinoa, and home-made energy bars. Children need foods that help in learning, absorbing information, and thinking. Stay away from processed foods and those that are high in sugar and additives.
Choose The Right Lunch Box
Apart from being visually appealing (in colour, shape and design), ensure that the box is BPA-free and keeps food fresh. The container is as important as the content. Check the size, it should be slim and fit into your child’s bag and have enough separate sections to put different foods in and also the one in which the food doesn’t get squished. Some lunch boxes even have built-in insulation, in case if your child wants their lunch to stay warm, pick them.
Cute Things Up
Make the lunch box a visual treat. Cookie cutters can give sandwiches a fun twist, they can be cut into hearts or stars. Moulds are now available to turn hard-boiled eggs into shapes like bunny rabbits or dolphins. Party shops and online stores off er a variety of help – cookie cutters, muffin moulds, toothpicks, napkins, stickers and crafts supplies, use what you want to add a smile to your child’s face. Recreating something ordinary as something extraordinary makes lunchtime more interesting and enjoyable for your kids. It takes a little effort but it’s worth it. she adds. Tiffin art helps in making food enticing, especially for kids in the 3-8 age group.
Fussy kids may not want to open their lunch boxes. Encourage them by putting in age-appropriate puzzles, word/code games, scrambles and activities as a part of the lunch bag. Apart from adding humour and fun to recess, this keeps them engaged as they eat. A special theme food that’s one colour or a festival box provides a nice surprise.
Give Them a Break
Once in a while, let kids (and yourself) off the hook. Hand them some money and ask them to tank up at the school cafeteria. Your kid enjoys the grown-up feeling of being able to go to the cafe and ordering what he/she likes. It could be a burger or chaat, but that one day of eating what he likes sets him up for the rest of the days.
Make it Interactive
Slip in a note that includes a couple of fun facts about the food you’ve packed that day, that your child can share with friends. For example, celery requires more calories to eat and digest than it itself contains. Or that honey is the only edible food that will never go bad. Bet even you didn’t know that, did you? This will help the kids to eat healthily and be healthy all the time.