“We all need inspiration,” says Meredith Steele, who writes the popular family food
blog In Sock Monkey Slippers.
“A PB&J sandwich gets pretty old fast, so creativity is key.”
1. stack a sandwich
Beth Aldrich, the woman behind the book “Real Moms Love to Eat”, supplies her son
with slices of turkey, cheese, green pepper, and bread or crackers in Ziploc® brand Snack Bags with mayo on the side—so
he can self-stack his own sandwich. “Just making it is fun,” said Aldrich, who slices
the ingredients into circles, squares, and triangles.
2. play with shapes
“I use cookie cutters a lot,” says Steele, who cuts cucumber slices, bread, and
cheese (she uses the remnants to make salad). To get the look in the photo above,
use two types of bread (white and wheat, for example), cut your shapes, and fit
one shape into the other. Now you’ve got a fun sandwich—with great taste and zero
3. put a new spin on old faves
As Steele said, PB&J can get old fast. But if that combination is a favorite
for your kids, keep it fresh by making it in a tortilla, spreading it in pita bread—or
even baking PB&J
muffins a sweet and hearty treat for breakfast, lunch or anytime.
4. divide and devour
Kids enjoy a well-presented meal just like adults, so consider packing a lunch using
a divided lunch container or bento box. They help keep contents cute and fresh throughout
the day, not to mention that they’re functional, economical and eco-friendly. Our
favorites are the rectangular Ziploc® brand Divided Containers.
Greek yogurt, carrots, chicken fajitas
Apricot coconut balls,
raw almonds, super hero sandwich
Sweet and salty
chickpea snack mix, apple,
chunky chicken peanut wraps.
5. captivate with color
Steele says to use color to make meals visually appealing: “Kids love color,” she
says. “It makes kids more interested in trying things out.” Cindy Richards of TravelingMom.com sometimes
makes meals all in one color to get her kids to try new foods. Want them to try
butternut squash? Make an orange lunch with the squash, plus carrots, oranges and
6. take a dip
Kids love to dip. Make lunch deliciously dippable by packing veggies with ranch
dressing, chips with salsa, sliced apples with yogurt, or pita bread with hummus.
7. sip a smoothie
Steele makes smoothies using Greek yogurt and honey, adding frozen fruit so there’s
no need for ice when blending. Then she freezes the mixture and packs it in the
morning so it defrosts on its own by lunchtime. Try this
triple berry smoothie, which calls for frozen blueberries and takes only
three minutes to make. Make ahead and freeze in a Ziploc® brand Twist ’n Loc® Containers.
8. tell a story
Aldrich sometimes adds a drop of blue food coloring to vanilla yogurt and inserts
a toothpick with a triangular piece of paper (for a sail), and serves it with fish-shaped
crackers. She achieves the same sea-faring theme with hollowed green or red peppers
filled with egg or tuna salad, using a straw to hold the sail. “It’s a great visual,”
9. make it notable
When the mood strikes, toss in a little note, joke, question, or game of hangman
to play throughout the week. Your kids will love the surprise!
Packing a fun and healthy lunch is one way to show your kids you care, says Steele.
After all, “lunch is a little bit of home that they take with them.”
For more fun lunch ideas and inspiration, check out
healthy snacks on the go,
kid-tested and delicious recipes,
lunch-box specials, and
8 Ways To Get Kids To Eat Fruits & Veggies.