Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Weekday Lunches

The challenge, as parents, is to create lunches that are reasonably healthful and palatable to kids, that can be carried off to school or play dates and left at room temperature for hours. The place to begin is at the grocery store where children can get involved with food selection. At home, try brainstorming a list of lunches that you both agree on. And don't forget to include a few fun items that your kids can help to prepare. 

Sandwich Shapes
Cookie cutters can be used to turn a peanut butter, cheese, tuna fish, or cold-cut sandwich into something special. Since some children shun bread crusts, shaped sandwiches are an alternative to cutting off the crusts. Most children are glad to chow down on their favorite shapes, no matter what's inside.
Homemade Lunchables
Buy a plastic sectional container. Cut lunch meats and cheese into fun shapes, such as triangles or sticks. Or use small cookie cutters for stars, hearts or teddy bears. Add some wholesome crackers, fruit or yogurt. Top it off with a fun dessert. The container can be brought home and reused. This is an inexpensive and healthy alternative to prepackaged lunches, and a way to add some fun to the lunch box.

Stuff an Apple
Pick an apple or your choice and remove the core (with a little extra space) with a knife and spoon. Fill this hole with peanut butter and top with raisins. Another favorite is cheddar cheese spread topped with chopped nuts. Put this apple into a plastic bag sealed with a twist tie. Remember making apple smiles. Just follow the photo above.
Fruit Kabobs
What child wouldn't like fruit-on-a-stick? For safety reasons, skew pre-cubed fruit on a plastic drinking straw, such as those used for coffee stirrers. To keep the fruit from turning brown, dip it into lemon juice. Pack these into a plastic container to avoid crushing the fruit. Another kebab idea is to layer cubes of cooked chicken breast or turkey, ham, cheese and little grape tomatoes.

This is all for today. See you next week with the letter X. Hmmm, this may be tough.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling