My sons don't like sandwiches. It's sad, and it's difficult and at times very frustrating but, unless they are MELTS or PANINIS of some kind, toasty, warm and dripping with cheese, they're just not into it and never have been.
Oh, they'll eat peanut butter CRACKERS and cold snacks of every and any variety, but, when it comes to meal time, they just want warmth.
What can I tell you? Some like it hot.
While I know that the trick to ending the struggle of packing healthy lunches for kids to eat at school could be solved with one little trick, this trick is not bound to be performed during our lifetimes. The trick is simple and would relieve thousands of parents from the burden of trying and failing to pack healthy lunches for their children each day.
When the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches come home all smushed up and un-eaten, the eggs so lovingly hard-boiled thrown in the trash, the tuna, cheese or salami sandwich just tossed aside like so much junk ... it can be disheartening to say the least.
To have a place for kids to HEAT UP their food at school would solve this issue, of that I am sure. Then we could pack our kids loads of broccoli and cheddar, mac and cheese, whole wheat pasta with homemade beef and veggie sauce. They'd pop it in the old microwave and eat it up just like they did at home. But that's not reality my friend, not at all.
So I'd like to share with you some compromises I've come up with over the last 13 years, my top five favorite healthy kid lunches to pack for kids who detest cold sandwiches. While they may not always bring food from home, they often do and these tried and true faves make me feel they are getting the nutrition they need during the day.
1. Toasted bagel with low-fat cream cheese
This can be layered with grilled chicken slices or ham or turkey, depending on your child's preferences. But toasting the bagel first makes a big difference and if you cut the sandwich into halves or quarters and wrap it in foil, it will retain a bit of its softness for later on in the day.
OKAY!! It IS a sandwich -- but the morning toasting makes a difference and even my kids will eat this if they don't receive it from me on a daily basis ... of course they'd rather if it were hot -- but they will eat it.
2. Combo meal
Whole grain crackers of your choosing, baby carrots, raw broccoli and a dipping sauce in a container. As many of us know, kids like to dip. Blue cheese, ranch, anything you approve of as long as your little person enjoys it. Add to this combo a bunch of grapes, a yogurt and you're good to go.
3. Deconstructed sandwich
aHA! Okay, the sandwich theme is present -- but it's turned on its head! Take OUT the sandwich filling like tuna salad, egg salad, or whatever your child likes. Put it into a container.
Then get the best, tastiest, healthiest chips you can find, like whole grain pita chips or whole grain tortilla chips and have them dip these into the sandwich type filling -- yum ... add to this some grape tomatoes or cold cucumbers ... very good.
It's not just for breakfast! Your child's favorite cereal can travel to school with him. Or her. Just fill a ziplock baggie with a good, crunchy and nutritious cereal. Fill a container with milk.
Pack a banana or other fruit your little person enjoys -- let them put the cereal, milk and fruit together at lunch time ... they'll like it and will probably get a kick out of creating it, too.
5. Cottage cheese
Does your child know what it is? Many kids adore cottage cheese and some abhor it, but if you have one that likes it, use it!
Yummy cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium. Pair this with wholesome chips, fruit and a crunchy, good granola bar. Lunch is served.
Packing Fun, Healthy Lunches For Kids by Lori Korbin
abc7 Los Angeles. Retrieved from the internet on January 12, 2012
Healthy Sack Lunch Tips by Shereen Jegtvig
About.com. nutrition. Retrieved from the internet on January 12, 2012
Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER.
Reviewed January 13, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith