September is here, which means plenty of packed lunches. Give your child a lunch to look forward to this year by making it a little bit different than the basic sandwich, chips and sugary dessert.
Do you have a youngster that can’t stand to have their food groups touch each other? Bento box to the rescue. Just include a protein (meat, cheese cubes or an egg), a starch (rice crackers, wagon wheel pasta or pita bread triangles), a veggie (string beans, cherry tomatoes or snap peas), and some fruit (apple slices, clementine sections or berries). The possibilities are endless and it’s fun and easy for you too.
Kids tend to love breakfast food so serve breakfast at noon. Pancakes are very versatile. You can layer them or roll them with nut butters, jelly or cream cheese. Waffles can be layered with these items as well. Also consider leftover quiche, a slice of banana bread, or a muffin. You can even add bacon slices, a granola bar or low-sugar cereal that can be eaten by hand.
Food bowls are all the rage right now. Jump on the bandwagon and create one-of-a-kind lunch bowls for your youngster. You can make these school lunches at night by using dinner leftovers. Start with a base of pasta, quinoa or rice. Add cubes of tofu or chicken, chopped tomatoes, last night’s green vegetable, feta cheese and chopped olives. Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
Toss out the cheese puffs or potato chips and make fun and simple sides. Hummus, salad dressing and guacamole can be sent to school in small colorful containers that make the food even more appealing. Send along slices of cucumbers, peppers and carrots cut vertically or nutritious crackers. Kids love dipping. Plus, this is a side that they can share – just no double dipping.
– Jean Sheff
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