Tips for Helping Kids Make their Own Lunch
School has started or will start very soon and so will school lunches.
Yikes! As a mom my school lunches were not all that interesting nor were they all that healthy, I have to admit at this stage of my life as a grandmother. But for the past two years I have watched my daughter make lunch for her daughter, who is now in 3rd grade and it was such a vastly different food experience than in my days of kids’ lunches.
I began to research information on interesting lunches that were both healthy and tasty. Sometimes the healthy part was hidden and could not even be tasted except by very discerning tastebuds. Along with my daughter we came up with some beautiful combinations that my granddaughter both enjoyed and requested again and again.
We loved Planet Lunchbox to help keep lunches fresh and cool or warm. They can be decorated and personalized with magnetic designs purchased along with the lunchbox itself. There is also a great carrying case that has a pocket for a cooling pack which worked very well for my granddaughter throughout her school year. Kids’ lunch bags seem to self destruct after one year but this one will easily make it through three years will minimal care, along with the stainless lunch box itself. Since it is a pricey combination this is a good thing to know before you make a purchase.
Kids can also learn to fill up these lunch boxes pretty easily themselves with some assistance and suggestions from their parents or grandparents or even from their friends who might already be making their own lunches. My granddaughter has a nut allergy so her choices are dictated by how foods are made and packaged. Many times cookies and baked goods have to be homemade. Convenience foods are usually not appropriate for many nut allergic kids so that makes food choices very important for my granddaughter. Both she are her mother are vigilant about label reading even if it is something they buy all the time. You never know when processing or ingredients will change in your favorite go to snack or food staple
When it comes to kids making their own lunches there are a few tips we found helpful. I wish I had known some of these things when I was much younger and sending my daughters off to school with their lunch bags.
We found this key to success when kids are making their own lunches. If you practice some indifference when it comes to perfection especially related to how the finished product looks, your child will feel so much better as he or she attempts to make a sandwich that looks like one that you made. Remember that being positive will be rewarded in the end.
Take kids to the grocery store to help pick out foods for lunch.
This is so important. If they are in charge of their choices it makes them more vested in the process. It probably helps to make a small list of possible food selections prior to actually getting to the store to avoid chaos in the aisles.
Create a designated area for food prep and storage of lunch friendly items
If you have room it would be extremely helpful to have an area where your children can do their preparation and where foods are readily accessible when needed. This will cut down time and hopefully create less mess. Again, letting your children help with setting up a prep area will help them become part of the kitchen team.
One of my favorite kids’ friendly cookbooks is from Momables by Laura Fuentes. She has a wonderful website and three books that are our favorites for family recipes that are easy, healthy and great for snacks and meals.
There are many months of lunches ahead…don’t get discouraged if your children slack off once in awhile. Revisit and tweak the process with them to keep them from getting bored. They are no different than we are when it comes to forming a habit. It takes time and patience with yourself and with them.
Happy Lunches Everyone!