(ARA) - Amid the jam-packed schedule of a child's school day, it's nice to know there is one area where parents make a difference lunchtime.
The mission is to create a nutritious lunch your kids will look forward to. Here are five creative tips to select healthier options.
1. Color, color, color: Kids love color so make it a point to pick a different color for each day/week and add it to your child's lunch in fun ways. For example, on a purple day pack a small plum or handful of grapes. Red is fun if you pair raspberries and strawberry yogurt for dipping. Peaches or baby carrots make delicious orange options. It's not only a fun way to get them excited about lunch, it helps introduce fruits and vegetables they might have been uninterested in before.
2. Portion control: Finding pre-portioned snacks can help save time and calories. Instead of reaching for bags of chips that can be high in fat, try low-fat pretzels or 100-calorie snacks instead. Single serving snacks are perfect for on-the-go parents who appreciate the simplicity of putting a bag in a lunch box.
3. Fun surprises: Yes, some kids are content with the same lunch day after day, but for the ones who need variety, make it fun. Change it up and do something unexpected. Ever thought of making breakfast for lunch? Pack two or three small whole-grain pancakes with fruit and yogurt for toppings. To replace sugary juice, pack homemade fruit-flavored water in a reusable bottle. Jazz up a typical sandwich by cutting it with a cookie cutter, and wrapping it in wax paper tied with a bow.
4. Choose a theme: Create a picnic theme with turkey tortilla roll-ups and fruit kabobs, a tea party theme with miniature sandwiches and sliced cucumbers with fruity-tea. Get kids involved and ask them what fun lunch themes they would enjoy.
5. Plan ahead and save: While packing lunches might seem too time-consuming, it doesn't have to be. Make Sunday a preparation day for the week ahead and get the whole family involved to help out. By planning ahead, you're less tempted to give in to packing more expensive, quicker options and instead you can save money by looking for deals and using coupons.