Bye-Bye Boring Lunch

In the wee hours, by the light of the coffee maker, moms and dads spread peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread. Diagonal-cut sandwiches, cups of applesauce and squeezable yogurt are packed into lunchboxes – back-to-school season is officially here.

For most of us, school has just begun, but you may have already found yourself in a lunchbox rut. Kids aren’t the only ones who get tired of pb&j’s. Parents also grow weary of making the same old things.

But even the best intentions can lead us astray. Cramming the most nutritious foods into the lunch hour doesn’t mean our children will actually eat them. If they’re accustomed to eating nachos and Oreos, you’ll have to ease them into tofu and snap peas. Buying and packing a bunch of food your child won’t eat isn’t doing any good.

Perhaps more than any other meal, lunch begs for an aesthetically pleasing meal. I’m not talking about radishes cut into roses – the aesthetic for a lunch box could be a pop of color, food divided bento-style or sandwiches cut into shapes. Why? Kids have a short amount of time to eat their lunch, and if it doesn’t look good, they’re likely to toss it.

The irony in making food that looks decent is that you’re then forced to cram it into a small pail, bag or tote. But check out some of these ideas, add them to the lunch box and see if the lunch box comes back empty.

Homemade Lunchables

Save money and make it healthier with homemade Lunchables.

On a Stick

It may be the same old turkey and cheese your kids would protest if on bread, but cube it and put it on a stick, and it’s sure to be a hit.

Wrap it Up

You can roll and wrap anything – including these tortillas filled with cashew butter, raisins and shredded carrots – and make it look like sushi. Make sure to pack the chopsticks.

Cutesy Cutters

Eating a butterfly- or T-Rex-shaped sandwich is more fun than a plain square. Stockpile with cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes.

Dip it

Make a lunch entirely based on dips and spreads. Fill little containers with hummus, black bean dip, pesto or yogurt, and then load up the lunch pail with whole-grain baked chips, veggies and fruit for dipping.

Photo Credit: Jenny Tripp

Categories: Food