If you are facing the challenge of sending nutritious brown bag lunches with your child to school you are not alone. Parents everywhere are constantly racking their brains and their recipe files in an attempt to tempt their little darlings with a brown bag lunch they will really eat and enjoy. With the current state of school lunches and the dearth of other choices that lack in any nutrition parents are totally frustrated in trying to get their child to want to eat a nutritious brown bag lunch. While you may feel that it is simply impossible to get your little one to want a nutritious brown bag lunch there are things you can do. By using a little creativity and lot of planning you can win the lunch wars. Here are some tips on helping your child want nutritious brown bag lunches:
Start nutritious eating early. You should not be surprised if when your child begins school after a preschool diet of chicken nuggets and fries he or she simply balks at the idea of a nutritious brown bag lunch. Nutrition must begin early with a child understanding what things are good for him or her to eat and then being given the chance to eat those things. Practicing good nutritional eating long before the child begins school will give you a much better chance of your child wanting a nutritious brown bag lunches. Yes, Virginia there are children who really do like salad (or at least cut up veggies)!
•Pack the child-friendly version of nutritious foods. Too often we focus simply on getting the nutrition in the child without considering what that kid really will eat or like. While there are children who will eat exotic hummus or bean dip not everyone will. But most children will gladly dip cut veggies or baked chips into fresh salsa or ranch dip. While health food granola bars may be appealing to adults, children may be turned off by the multitude of ingredients and strange textures. Consider making a simple granola bar at home (there are several simple recipes available on the web) and load them up with kid friendly raisins, cereal, and even a few chocolate chips.
•Consider the packaging. While your lunch may be carefully packed and loaded with nutrition you still need to make it appealing. While the brown bag may be the easiest, consider having your child pick out a special lunch box or bag that they will love. Package food in fun and interesting ways: cut up sandwiches in different shapes, add ingredients to be mixed together for the do-it-yourselfer lunch, or assemble veggies into a veggie monster to be eaten. Your child won’t be focused on the nutrition of their brown bag lunch but rather on the fun of it.
•Give your child a say in what they eat. While no one has the time to be a short-order cook, helping your child want a nutritious brown bag lunch may be as easy as giving choices. While you control the choices (apple or orange) the child is then given the choice of what they really want to eat. Everybody wins! Noone, child or adult, likes to have their eating choices forced on them so by providing choices your child will be much more likely to eat and enjoy the nutrition you are trying to hard to provide for them. If mornings are to hectic consider a lunch-packing ritual the night before with the added benefit of spending one on one time with your child while you pack their nutritious brown bag lunch together!