Writen by Clarissa DeHarty
“I am not eating that!” Does this sound familiar? I have found that the older my children get, the pickier they are when it comes to what they will eat. In fact, each time I get ready to make dinner or fix them a snack, there is a mental checklist that I go through!
No pepper – the black ‘spots’ freak them out!
If it’s meat, each and every speck of fat must be cut completely off or they will not eat meat for a week.
No slimy green vegetables such as spinach, greens, asparagus and brussels sprouts.
I am not kidding. They are so picky that I am amazed they are not vitamin deficient! However, we make it work, using different foods that they love. Every once in a while, I will even trick them into eating something that they think they don’t like! Now that I am packing lunches, I have to wonder what they will eat. I can just imagine them dumping their entire lunch into the garbage and then starving until they get home! So, here are some tips and tricks that I’ve discovered to healthy lunches that kids love.
One thing I like to do is include foods from each different food group. Since they are so choosy, there aren’t many meats I can send with them to school. However, I have found that good quality deli meats like ham and turkey go over well. They love what we call a ‘roly poly.’ I simply spread some mayo on a flour tortilla, add a few slices of ham or turkey and a slice of cheese and then roll it up. Wrapping it in some cling wrap will keep it together until they are ready to eat it. Another way that I can sneak meat in is to use leftover chicken or ham from the night before. I simply cut it into large cubes and add something to dip it in, like barbecue sauce or ranch dressing!
I don’t like sending canned fruits to school. In fact, I don’t like them much at all. I try to utilize fresh fruits and one way that I do this is by packing a plain yogurt for them to eat. I then slice up some different things like strawberries and peaches for them to add to the yogurt at lunch time. They think they are getting a good treat, but you and I know that they are getting tons of essential vitamins and nutrients! I like to add cubed cheddar cheese along with this treat as well, because both of my kids love it and it goes well with the fruit.
Oooohh…This is a real problem for us! My kids aren’t big fans of veggies, but because they are so healthy and essential, I sneak them in every time I can. One thing that I like to do is make eating veggies fun. For example, a slice of celery with some peanut butter stuffed in it and raisins sprinkled on top gives my kids a chance to eat ‘ants on a tree branch!’ Silly, but they love it and will eat it every time. My kids like salads, so when I make a salad, I add fresh spinach and herbs to the regular old Iceberg lettuce. This gives the salad a little kick, some extra vitamins and they really do enjoy it!
Every kid loves cereal and I take advantage of that. I pack a Ziploc bag with a handful of Honey Nut Cheerios or another healthy cereal and add raisins, a few nuts and occasionally I will throw in some other dried fruit. Again, they think they’re getting a snack and it’s good for them. Also, whole wheat bread works well with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or turkey and ham.
I always pack a small carton of milk – regular and sometimes chocolate. They love ‘cheese sticks’ which I make by cutting cheddar cheese. I can even get them to eat cottage cheese if I add some pineapple chunks to their lunch.
Okay…so I am guilty. I do add something sweet for their lunches. Well, shoot! If they can eat all that healthy stuff the darn kids deserve a cookie! Sometimes I will send a pudding or even a piece of chocolate. Another thing
that I love sending is applesauce. To them it is a treat and to me, well…there I go again!
It’s not too difficult to pack healthy, good lunches that your kids will love if you have a bit of fun with it.