Packing lunchboxes can be quite challenging, especially when mornings are busy and rushed. Parents end up putting together meals without over thinking about them. Because of this, children eat the same lunches every day. Either that or they end up eating unhealthy food, which is worse!
Packing lunchboxes for preschoolers don’t have to be too complicated. After all, little kids prefer simple food which they are used to eating. Also, if the presentation of the lunchbox is colorful, it becomes appealing to them. Preparing healthy lunchboxes becomes easy with a little innovation and creativity.
This article is all about planning and preparing healthy lunchboxes for kids. And the best part is, they’re extremely easy to make.Involving the children in planning their daily lunches is fun too. It gives parents a chance to communicate with their children. It helps parents get to know the children better too.
Benefits of Making a Healthy Lunch Box for Your Preschooler
The best way to make sure that your child is eating healthy food is to prepare his/her lunch yourself. There are many ways to put together simple meals which contain the most robust of food choices. It gives parents a chance to be creative and open to their children. Aside from that, it’s beneficial for the kids too. Here are some advantages of making your preschooler’s lunch:
Parents can include all the essential nutrients in each meal. Lunch serves as one of the biggest meals preschoolers consume within the day. It’s essential that it contains the key nutrients. When parents prepare their own child’s lunchbox, they can choose which food items go into it. If parents pack healthy foods into the lunchbox, then the child remains healthy too. Also, the child learns healthy eating habits when given healthy lunches daily.
Parents can limit the child’s daily fat intake. Nowadays children are exposed to too much unhealthy food. Processed food is a lot easier to come by and more readily available. Unfortunately, these kinds of food contain a lot of unhealthy fats. These fats can be dangerous to children’s health. But if parents plan out what they will give to their child, this issue can be easily avoided. Parents can prepare healthy and colorful meals for their children. This makes it appealing to kids, making them more willing to finish everything in their lunchbox.
It helps maintain the child’s proper body weight. Children who overeat processed or unhealthy food tend to gain weight at a harmful rate. In the past few years, the number of obese children has increased steadily. Part of the problem is because their daily food intake isn’t monitored well. This won’t be an issue if parents pack their own kid’s lunchboxes. It may take more effort, but it will positively impact the child’s health.
It gives the child sufficient energy levels. Finally, planning a balanced, healthy meal is sure to give the child a good amount of energy. Children who eat healthy food are more active and focused at school. This leads to better performance too, which is a bonus.
It’s beneficial for parents to plan out and prepare their preschooler’s lunchbox. It’s also a lot more economical than paying for lunches from school. Aside from that, parents are also sure of what their kids are eating every lunchtime. Here are some simple ideas for healthy lunches to pack:
Peanut Butter, Banana & Jelly Burrito
This simple treat is fun, delicious and healthy. Preparing and packing this meal is easy enough to do in just a few minutes. Children can even help in preparingthe burrito. They can choose how much peanut butter, jelly, and bananas go into it. This is a versatile meal which parents can change up to add variety and keep the kids interested. Just change the burrito’s fillings, and it becomes a brand-new dish!
To make the burrito, start with a whole-wheat wrap. Toast it lightly and spread some peanut butter on it. On top of the peanut butter, spread on some jelly. Then, add some banana slices and wrap it up like a burrito.
For a different version, place a whole banana on the edge of the wrap. From that edge, start rolling the burrito until the other end. It’s great to pair this lunch up with the child’s favorite box of milk.
Noodle& Peas Fritters
This is a savory lunchbox treat which camouflages the fact that it contains vegetables. It takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare and another 10-15 minutes to cook all the fritters. Children will love these crispy vegetable fritters because they’re delicious. They taste great whether freshly cooked or not. This lunch idea requires a few ingredients:
- boiled peas (make sure they’re tender)
- fresh noodles (Hokkien works best, but you can use any thin noodles)
- eggs which have been lightly beaten
- self-rising flour
- finely chopped red onions
- grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- healthy oil for frying
To start off the preparation, place the boiled peas in a bowl and mash them. Add in the noodles, eggs, self-rising flour, milk, onions and parmesan cheese. To make it tastier, sprinkle some salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients around to combine them well to make a batter.
Shape the fritters and start frying them over medium heat. Cook the fritters until they’ve turned golden brown. Then, take them out of the pan and place them on a paper towel. Doing this soaks up the excess oil. Pair these fritters with some baby carrots or celery sticks. These crunchy vegetables will compliment the fritters well. Also, add in the child’s favorite juice box to go with the healthy lunch.
Colorful Veggie Pasta
Everyone loves pasta, even kids! Making this treat using colorful pasta makes the experience more fun for the child. As we’ve mentioned previously, children find colorful food a lot more appealing. It’s easy to prepare this pasta. It tastes great and contains vegetables to keep your preschooler healthy.
For this dish, cook some rotini pasta (the tricolor variety). Once cooked and drained, combine it with cooked peas (make sure they’re tender!), sliced cherry tomatoes and a small amount of melted butter. Season it with salt and pepper to enhance the taste.
It’s best to serve this pasta with some applesauce for a different flavor. Baby carrots work well too as they are vibrant in color and provide a different texture. Finally, pack a box of milk or juice with the pasta to make it complete.
Mini Cream Cheese Sandwiches 4 Ways
Sandwiches are another type of versatile food which can serve as lunch for kids. Cream cheese sandwiches don’t have to be boring. There are many ways to prepare cream cheese sandwiches because they go well with different flavors.
There are different kinds of bread which are healthy for children to eat. Pair them and combine them with different fillings to have endless sandwich possibilities. Here are some suggestions for cream cheese sandwiches 4 ways:
- cream cheese sandwiches made with whole wheat bread, thinly sliced cucumbers and mint
- cream cheese sandwiches made with Jewish rye, salami and pickle slices
- cream cheese sandwiches made with pumpernickel bread and thin tomato slices then seasoned with salt and pepper
- cream cheese sandwiches made with seedy bread and some apricot jam
These are some ideas for cream cheese sandwich combinations. They’re healthy and oh-so-delicious. It’s a good idea to cut up the bread and present them as mini sandwiches. It’s also great to pair them with homemade chips. Healthy, crunchy chips will compliment the sandwiches well. Milk, water or juice will go great with this lunch treat.
Pizza Bento Box
Finally, there’s a bento box. This is a trendy way to prepare lunchboxes. Bento boxes are colorful and fun to eat. With such a meal, the child will surely devour every single element inside the box. Making a pizza bento box is easy. And because all the components are homemade, it’s sure to be very healthy.
Make the crust for the pizza using a piece of bread. Any bread is okay; an English muffin will work well too. Cut the bread into a circle shape then spread on some sauce. Sprinkle some grated cheese and the child’s favorite pizza toppings.
Toast the mini-pizza and arrange it tastefully in the lunchbox. Then comes the fun part. Add in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables around the pizza to make it stand out. Use different berries to add color and sweetness to the box.
Using small cookie cutters to cut up vegetables will make them more fun and appealing for kids. Parents can ask their child to help build the bento box. In doing this, the child gets more excited about showing it off then eating it.
This is just one idea for a bento lunchbox. There are a lot more ideas in making these creative meals. They do require more time and effort to prepare, though. But when the boxes come home empty, it’s worth knowing that your child had a blast eating a healthy meal at school.
The Best Sides for Healthy Lunchboxes
There are many healthy food options to choose from when preparing lunch boxes for kids. But sometimes, it can be quite challenging to pick out the best ones. It’s helpful to know which foods are healthy to be able to mix and match them up when assembling lunchboxes. Here are some of the finest healthy choices:
- Fruit is one of the best options. It’s best to use fresh fruit since they are healthy and delicious. Also, there are many varieties of fruits to choose from. Because of this, parents can give their children different fruits on different days. They can even color-coordinate the fruits with the rest of the food in the lunchbox.
- Vegetables are also a must-have in healthy lunchboxes. Vegetable sticks with dip is a fun side to accompany the main meal. A small, kid-friendly salad is great It’s much easier to include veggies if the parents know which one their child likes.
- Yogurt or custard are healthy and yummy options too. When packing these in the lunchbox, it’s best to wrap them in a cloth. Do this to keep them chilled until lunchtime.
- Bread is another great option. There are many different varieties of bread and some are healthy. Make sandwiches using different types of bread to keep the child interested.
- Treat the child occasionally with a lunch of biscuits with cheese or dips. Assembling cheese and crackers from home guarantees that they are healthy. Make homemade dip beforehand and store it in the refrigerator. That way, you have a quick option to prepare when there is little time.
- Homemade cakes and muffins can also count as an occasional treat in a preschooler’s lunchbox. When these are made from home, parents can choose what goes into these treats, ensuring that all ingredients are healthy.
An important thing to remember is to vary the food. That is unless the child prefers to eat the same meal repeatedly. But in most cases, it’s better to mix things up to keep mealtime fun and interesting.
Tips for Preparing Your Preschooler’s Lunch Box
An important thing to remember when packing a child’s lunchbox is that the child won’t eat it right away. Most times, it’s stored away for a few hours until it’s time for lunch. Because of that, it’s essential to know how to pack the lunch well. Here are some helpful tips:
- If the food in the box needs to stay cool, place it in a lunchbox which is insulated.
- Always prepare the child’s food with hygiene in mind. This helps keep the freshness of the food.
- When preparing the lunchbox, the night before, make sure to store it in the refrigerator overnight.
- If perishable foods are part of the meal, make sure that the lunchbox stays cool. Also, avoid packing these types of food right after cooking them. Let them cool down first, so they don’t spoil.
- Tell the child what’s inside the lunchbox. Do this in a fun way to encourage the child to eat everything in it.