Sometimes it can be hard to constantly come up with a nutritious lunch for my kids (and myself) day after day. But, if you really break it down, it doesn’t have to be difficult! I’m super excited to be partnering with Sargento over the next several months, and today I’m thrilled to provide some ideas and tips for nutritious and fun lunches as well as snack ideas! I hope you enjoy the video! It was a lot of fun to come up with creative ways to fill the lunchbox!
It isn’t always easy and convenient to feed and provide our families with the best options. But, at the end of the day, it is up to us to make those decisions, and help guide our kids to a robust lifestyle and good relationship with food. Even as adults, it is hard to make good choices when our schedules are so busy, and we just plain don’t have a lot of time! But, I have some tips to help make putting together lunches and snacks easier on you!
10 Tips to make a Nutritious Lunch for Kids (and Adults!):
Use high quality, fresh ingredients: When it comes to our food choices, we have to consider and make good choices on what we are feeding our families. I always try to serve my family the best quality ingredients, and make good choices on the products we eat. My kids and I love eating Sargento Cheese in our lunches as well as for snacks! The kids especially love when I get creative and use cookie cutters, or present their lunches and snacks in a fun way.
2. Pack a balanced meal: When I make lunches, I always try include: a fresh fruit and vegetable, dairy like Sargento Sliced Cheese or Cheese Snacks, some kind of meat or sandwich or salad, some kind of a snack, and usually a little treat. (Read on to see the rest of the tips!)
Some times it can be hard to come up good ideas for healthy meals for kids, but you don’t have to sweat it. Kids love simple, and serving up some healthy kids snacks in a muffin tin tray is a fun way to get kids to eat healthy!
On those busy days when I am working, or not in the mood to make a big fuss over a meal, I whip out the Muffin or cupcake tins, and get started filling them up with healthy options that my kids love.
I don’t know what it is about the way it is presented, but my kids go nuts over having little compartments full of snacks and healthy foods to eat. They love not having a plate, and sometimes I put a blanket out, and they can just snack and munch on the floor picnic style.
There really aren’t any rules to what you can put in the tins, but here are a few things I usually use:
Fresh fruit- sliced fresh fruit, or whole fruits. I just make sure it is washed and bite sized. You could even add dried fruits, like raisins, or freeze dried strawberries.
Fresh Vegetables- again, washed and cut bite-sized ready to eat. You could even save a tin for some dipping sauces like hummus, or ranch if your kids prefer that.
Cheese- If I have a minute I’ll let the kids help cut out fun shapes with cookie cutters in the cheese, or I’ll just cut up some string cheese, or cube some different varieties of cheeses.
Meats- I’ll find some good quality deli-meats free from nitrates or antibiotics and cut them up in cubes, or roll them up. We also love salamis, or sausages.
Nuts- Sometimes I’ll add some raw nuts. Almonds, peanuts, cashews. My kids do not have any allergies, so they enjoy snacking on nuts.
Crackers- I love adding some crackers in the tins. My oldest loves to make little “sandwiches” with the crackers and meats and cheeses. We love the Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies, and Rice Crackers.
Themed- When it is near a certain holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, I have made the snack tins with all green foods. It’s fun for the kids, and they love something new and festive for lunch.
The best part about the Muffin Tin Meals is that you really can do what ever you want. Anything goes! If there is a bit-sized healthy snack or food that your child loves, throw it in there! They will be thrilled! You could even pack it up, cover it up and bring it along to the park with you for some snacking on-the-go as it tends to be at the park when the kids rather run around and play instead of sitting still and eating. Or is that just my kids?!
Getting your kids to eat healthy meals and snacks can always be a stressful time of day, but it doesn’t have to be if you make it more fun for them. They always love a little escape from the norm, so throw a blanket down, toss the plates and forks aside, and let them have at it!