Providing lunch for your children can be a challenge. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches quickly get old and they are not the most healthy option. Packaged lunch alternatives often contain additives and preservatives as well as unnecessary amounts of trans-fats, salt and sugar. So, as a health-conscious parent who is attempting to provide a fun, unique lunch for their child, what can you do? You could spend the whole day researching ideas. However, in this article, we have saved you the trouble. Below are twenty ideas for spicing up your children’s lunches they are sure to love and will not want to trade to their friends.
Celery Stick Paintbrushes
Veggies are not generally something any child wants in their lunch. However, they will soon change their tune with these celery paintbrushes. Take celery sticks. Cut the ends so they flare out like paint brushes. Then include tiny cups of mayo, mustard and ketchup to serve as the paint. Also include a classic ham or turkey sandwich, allowing your little artists to paint designs on their sandwiches before they eat them.
To get your children to eat carrots, simply trim down one end, shaping the carrot into the shape of a pencil. These would also be wonderful to include along with the celery paint brushes as another artistic medium for your sandwich topping artists.
Octopus weenies are a favorite of both children and adults alike in Japan and they will be a favorite of your little ones too, especially if they love sea life. Start with a cocktail weenie. Cut little slits in the weenie till they are about halfway up. These become little dangling legs. Fry the weenies and the legs will curl up, giving you a perfect octopus.
Pigs in a Blanket
Pigs in a blanket are not generally considered the most healthy lunchtime choice, but children love them. To make your pigs in a blanket more healthy, use turkey sausages or cocktail weenies. Cut down on the amount of cheese the recipe calls for. Serve these sparingly and they become a lunchtime treat your child will be delighted to see in their lunchbox.
Pizza Pocket Puffs
These alliteratively-named snacks are a wonderful treat. Simply roll out filo dough or crescent roll dough into thin sheets. Then put a bit of cheese, some mini pepperoni, or your child’s pizza toppings of choice inside. Fold into a little pocket, crimp the edges and bake. These are just like having pizza for lunch, but with none of the mess!
Everything is more fun on a stick. So why not pack your children fruit skewers or meat and veggie kebabs on small, flat skewers. They are quick and easy to make, easy to eat and mess-free and even better, they are not the typical sandwich.
Most children love cheese. Instead of packing your child a grilled cheese for lunch, why not pack a quesadilla? Your children will be happy you did.
Children and adults in Asia often eat spring rolls. You can make these delicious rolled up meals using rice paper wrappers or lettuce leaves. Fill them with grilled pork, chicken or shrimp and vegetables for a well-balanced lunch.
Help your children learn about the cuisine of other countries by preparing international foods for their lunch box. Start on Monday, and prepare a simple dish from a country of the child’s choice. Each day of the week, pick another country.
If you have to make a classic sandwich, do something special with it. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes into the sandwich. This way your child can punch out the shapes. For more fun, make the shapes fit a theme, and see if your child can guess what the theme is.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Apples
Why make a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich when you can do the same thing with a delicious, crunchy apple. Cut the apple in half, carefully remove the core, and then fill with delicious peanut butter and jelly.
Ants on a Log
While not an entire meal in itself, ants on a log is still a good way to spice up your child’s lunch box. A celery stick is your log, to which raisin “ants” are attached with peanut butter.
If you have to use lunch meat in your child’s lunch, why not make a roll-up? Take deli turkey or ham. Then put a slice of cheese on it. Then put a lettuce leaf in the middle and roll tightly. Your children will never think of lunch meat the same again.
Hamburgers are always a favorite. Grill small hamburger patties on an indoor grill the night before, and then pop them together the next morning. Your little ones will love it. You could also make baked French fries to go with it.
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Slices
Instead of including boring old apple slices in your kid’s lunch, why not give them cinnamon sugar apple slices instead? Simply put a bit of cinnamon and sugar in a baggie. Add apple slices and shake to coat.
An ocean lunch is easy to make. Start with fish sticks. To accompany these, give your children blue Jell-o. Add gummy sea creatures for the ocean look.
Is there a big holiday coming up? If so, holiday-themed foods are a great way to get the kids excited. Be creative! Boiled eggs with dyed shells are a great idea for Easter, for example.
If your child loves sports, use that to your advantage. Make them a stadium-themed lunch. Turkey hot dogs, homemade nacho dip and tortilla chips for dipping make a perfect lunch.
Instead of serving your child boring old tortilla chips, make tortilla stars instead. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut two or three-inch star shapes from a tortilla. Top with cheese and spices. Bake cheese side down on a baking rack till golden.
For those of you with children who are vegan/vegetarian, tofu nuggets are an excellent option. Include a few small cups of your children’s favorite dipping sauce, some carrot sticks and a healthy drink option, and you are good to go.
School lunches do not have to be boring. In fact, they can be quite unique, as the list above proves. Use your creativity and imagination, and the sky is the limit.