My oldest son will be starting first grade this year and I now have the challenge of providing him a balanced lunch that will satisfy him and not break my budget. I went looking for tips and ideas and here’s what I learned:
1. Create Menus Together
My goal is to include one item from each food group (fruit, vegetables, grain and protein) and I also had my son come up with a list of his favorite foods from the four food groups. Then based on our lists I created lunch menus, making sure to always incorporate one of my son’s favorite foods. This way I know he’ll always enjoy at least part of his lunch.
2. Make Your Own Fun Lunch Kits
To keep lunches interesting for kids, try using cookie cutters to create fun shaped food-bites. Don’t limit using cookie cutters to just sandwiches. Use them to cut fruit like cantaloupe or apple slices, as well as deli meat and cheese. Then, add some Toasteds crackers to their lunchbox and your child will never again ask for a pricey store-bought lunch kits. For more fun ideas check out Kellie's Fun Lunch Box Ideas.
3. Create Themed Lunches
Creating themed lunches is another way to add fun to brown bag lunches. For example, make an Italian lunch by adding cherry tomatoes, mini slices of pepperoni, a mozzarella stick plus a small bag of Cheez-It crackers to a lunchbox. Do your kids love tacos? Make them a Mexican themed brown ba lunch by creating a taco salad from leftover ground beef, taco toppings and shells.
4. Add Variety with Snacks
If your kids are like mine, snacks are a brown bag lunch requirement. Keeping convenient snacks like Rice Krispies Treats, Nutri-Grain bars, and Gripz on hand makes life much easier and can save you money. Kellogg’s also offers variety packs of Rice Krispies Treats, Sandwich Crackers and Snack Packs containing Chips Deluxe, Cheez-It crackers and Fudge Shoppe cookies so there’s something for every child.
Save money by packing your own brown bag lunches. Get inspired ideas from your own children. Ask them for their favorite foods and involve them in the process of creating their menus. Then, you will enjoy the ultimate advantage of getting them involved by packing them food that they will like eating.