Back to school means, back to preparing school lunches. The start of a new school year is the perfect time to try new school lunch recipes! These ideas listed below are also relevant for easy lunches on the go.
For elementary school age children, bento boxes have received justified popularity as this can help introduce a variety of foods; therefore, a variety of nutrients, in a single meal. Many of the bento boxes on the market are easy for children to open and allows for a longer time actually enjoying lunch, rather than waiting for an adult to assist with opening up each individually packaged item. The methodology of packing different foods separately also helps ensure that the food will preserve until lunch time. And finally, since all of the components of the lunch is laid out in the bento box, your child will have autonomy over the foods that he or she will consume and in the order in which it is consumed. This is an important building block in building a healthy relationship with food.
Before looking through the lunch ideas below, it is important to consider that the evidence used to create the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that 8-10 exposures of a certain food may be necessary before a child will develop acceptance towards it. Providing one newer food, along with “safe foods” (foods that you know your child enjoys) in a new environment (i.e. school), can often encourage further exposures to this newer food.
Unique Sandwich Ideas:
Since many schools do not allow peanuts to be brought in, sunbutter is typically a welcomed alternative. Adding variety and creativity to this classic sandwich can make your child’s lunch even more exciting (and nutritious!)
- Sunbutter + Banana or berries on bread
- Cheese + bell peppers + tomatoes in a wrap
- Hummus + cucumbers in a pita
The other components of the meal should include some of your child’s “safe foods.” Other sides can include some of the additional fruits and vegetables that are in-season this month, along with a dip to make the veggies more fun!
In Season Produce:
Apples, avocados, bananas, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, grapes, green beans, leeks, lemons/limes, mango, melons, mushrooms, okra, papaya, pears, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkin, raspberries, strawberries, sweet onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes