By Nancy Mattia, CTW Features
If your children take their lunch to school every day, why not shake things up a bit by updating your methods and the foods you choose? There are easy ways to make changes without adding a lot of extra time to your schedule. Remember, for many youngsters, lunch is the best part of their school day, so make the meal count! Below, some ideas to make lunch at school more exciting:
1 Change leftovers into lunch
Turn last night’s dinner into a cold lunch. What works well: The rotisserie chicken you had for dinner will make an excellent chicken salad with lettuce and tomatoes for lunch; the pasta with pesto sauce served warm last night will be just as delicious at room temperature for lunch the next day.
2 Get your kids involved in the prep
Instead of you making all the lunches, put older kids to work making their own. It’s likely they’ll take pride in what they’ve done and will more readily want to eat it!
3 Embrace the thermos
For older kids, an insulated container opens up a world of hot- food possibilities—pastas, soups and stews. Who wouldn’t want to eat Mom’s mac and cheese for lunch? To keep food warm, in the morning pour boiling water into thermos and put lid on, then heat up the food on stovetop or in microwave; when food is warmed, empty water from thermos and fill it with the warmed food.
4 Change the shape of the sandwich
For the little ones: If you have cookie cutters, it will take you seconds to turn an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich into a tasty T. rex.
5 Take them grocery shopping
Encourage children of all ages to look around the store and see what looks good to them. Potato chips? Not for school lunch. Hummus and baby carrots? Much better!
6 Put the lunch food in colorful containers
Think of how much more fun it is to eat orange sections in a bright green container than it would be in clear sandwich bag? It’s easy to find small colorful containers that fit in a lunch box. A slightly different take on this idea is getting a bento-style box with small compartments to hold the different foods.
7 Get inspired by your favorite products
Some companies that make popular lunch items offer online school-lunch recipes featuring their products. For example, Wonder, which sells sliced bread and buns, offers instructions on how to make the Cheese and Apple Slaw Sandwich and English Muffin Pizza.