With school back in session, it’s time to think about what to pack in your adorable preschooler’s lunch every day.
We know it can be challenging to find healthy foods that your little one will eat but it doesn’t have to be stressful! Follow our tips below for how to pack a school lunch, as well as some kids lunch box ideas, and this task will go from being a chore to one you look forward to.
5 Top Tips for Packing School Lunches
1. Involve your preschooler in selecting and shopping for foods to include in school lunches, as well as in the lunch preparation and packing process. Not only will this give you a wonderful way to spend quality time together, but your preschooler will be more likely to eat foods that he or she was part of picking out and preparing.
2. Pack small portions. Large portions of food can be overwhelming for little ones and you’ll end up with a lot of food being unfinished and coming back home. It will take a bit of trial and error to figure out just the right amount of food to pack for your child, but it will become apparent after a week or two.
3. Finger foods are ideal for little hands who may still be learning how to use utensils. Since these foods are quicker and easier to eat, the chances are much higher that your child will actually eat what you pack. Slice fruit, cut sandwiches into four pieces, cube cheese – you get the idea! Whenever possible, unwrap packaged foods since little hands often have trouble opening packages – and teachers may not always have time to help.
4. Choose the right containers. You’ll want a lunch box, storage container and cup that are easy for your child to use and open and close. The Lunch™ Bento Box is perfect for school or daycare because it comes complete with stainless steel utensils and 5 divided compartments to ensure foods don’t touch. Cute designs are a perk — but they’re even better when they make your little one excited to eat the food inside!
The Miracle® 360° Cup is easy for little hands to hold, has a 360° edge that allows drinking from any side of the cup and automatically seals when your child stops drinking – making it the ideal cup to put milk, juice or water in for school lunches. And a snack cup that allows tiny fingers to reach in to get fruit, veggies or crackers without anything falling out is a must-have for lunches.
5. Change up the foods you pack. Although many young children are more than happy to eat the same foods day in and day out, when your child eats the same foods every day, he or she won’t be getting the variety of nutrients needed for optimal health. As much as possible, try to include a combination of grains, fresh fruit, vegetables and a protein source.
Ideas for Kids Lunches
Since preschool is the perfect age to start building healthy eating habits, you’ll want to consider all types of food. Below are a few ideas for what to pack in school lunches.
1. Ham, Cheese, Peas and Fruit
This is a classic lunch box combination for kids and for good reason – kids love it! Pack small cubes of ham, tiny cubes of cheese and diced pears and you have a healthy lunch that tiny fingers can handle.
2. Meatballs, Broccoli and Fruit
Kids love meatballs! Pack leftover ones from dinner or use pre-cooked ones from the store, cutting them into small pieces. Pack with cut up pieces of steamed broccoli and mandarin orange slices.
3. Eggs, Cucumber and Fruit
Pack a hard-boiled egg, cubed cucumber pieces and sliced strawberries or raspberries.
4. Chicken Nuggets, Crackers and Fruit
Stock up on your child’s favorite brand of chicken nuggets to have an easy school lunch option on hand. Bake them and cut them into smaller pieces when packing. Add in mini crackers and quartered grapes to round out the lunch.
Now that you have some great lunch ideas to get started and some containers your child can manage on his or her own, you’ll need the perfect bag to put everything in. The Brica® By-my-Side™ Safety Harness Backpack is the ideal bag and your child will love wearing it to school every day. This backpack was designed just for little ones, fitting comfortably around them and with room their lunch containers, cups and utensils, if using.