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9 tips for making ‘back to school’ lunches fun and easy

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 8th, 2016

The start of a new school year for kids means preparing lunches five times a week. With every parent wants to provide variety as well as maintain a healthy and nutritious lunch box for their child, this can be a daunting task.

Have no fear! Registered dietician Sue Mah gives us some lunchbox inspiration for the upcoming school year. Below are nine lunchbox tips will please everyone from picky eaters to vegetarians. Lunchboxes and lunch accessories can be found on Fenigo.

  1. Make a plan. Make sure you have everything you need in the fridge and pantry for the week ahead. Go to the grocery store during the weekends to verify you have everything you need to create a balanced lunch. For a homemade twist, do some home-baking over the weekend. The goodies can be stored in an airtight container for a few days or frozen, so that you will never be short of something to pop in the lunchbox.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.03 AM
  2. Pre-pack lunch boxes. If mornings are hectic, pre-pack lunches the night before then store them in the fridge. This helps parents keep their morning on track, and gets the kids out of the door on-time for the school bell.
  3. Create a balanced meal. For a balanced lunchbox, include a variety of food types: fresh fruit, vegetables, starchy food, protein, and dairy. For example, a ham and salad sandwich on wholegrain bread, with carrot sticks, a piece of fruit and a yoghurt. If vegetarian, ensure food options meed a child’s dietary needs. Include protein rich foods include roasted chickpeas, nuts, and cheese.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.13 AM
  4. Switch out sugary drinks for water. Water is the best for a drink in a child’s lunchbox. Use a refillable, easy to open, leak-proof bottle. For a fun summer-time twist, freeze up the water bottle so it will still be cool by lunchtime.
  5. Make sure your lunchbox is both tasty and safe. During hot weather use an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack to keep food cool. Wash, rinse and dry lunch boxes thoroughly after each use.
  6. Make it interesting. Try not to pack the same things every day. Spice up your child’s lunchbox with fun and interesting foods. Cutting sandwiches into different shapes can help keep younger children happy. Find cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into creative shapes. Cookie cutters such as butterfly and puzzle piece cutouts can be found on Fenigo.
  7. Ensure the food is accessible. Many food items might not be accessible to younger children. Loosen lids on yoghurt pouches if necessary. Peel and cut fruit if your child struggles with eating a whole fruit. Avoid using plastic wrap that can be tough to get off.
  8. Get your child involved in packing their own lunch box. After all, they are the one who is going to be eating it! Offer two or three options of fruit, sandwich fillings, veggie snacks and a small treat. Explore what your child will enjoy for lunch. For the kid who doesn’t like sandwiches, there are a variety of different lunch options that will please a picky eater. Examples of such are chicken pasta salad, sushi, cereal and milk, mini pizzas.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.45 AM
  9. Find something new. Ask other moms what they offer their kids for lunch. Many moms are getting creative, packing leftover homemade chicken fingers with plum sauce in a bento box, cucumber sushi with seaweed snacks, or even fruit and cheese skewers such as apple cheese sailboats pictured above.

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