(BPT) - With school bells ringing across the country, parents are adjusting to new schedules and planning lunches and snacks accordingly. Fortunately, providing kids with nutritious foods doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task – and your kids will be thrilled with your new mealtime creativity.
Andy Herald and Charlie Capen, bloggers at How to Be a Dad, know both moms and dads want to give kids great nutrition during the school day without spending a lot of time fussing in the kitchen. They offer these tips and tricks for parents who want to get an A+ from their kids for lunch and snack-time tastiness.
Bento box it up
Forget the brown bag. When you pack your kid’s lunch in a bento box – a reusable container with multiple compartments traditionally used in Japan – you take lunch from so-so to super. These fun containers are available online and in stores, and they make it easy to include a variety of foods in reasonable portion sizes. Fill slots with sandwich cutouts, Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches, salads, cheese sticks and more. The options are endless.
Wrap it up for a lunchtime twist
Kids getting bored with sandwiches? Bring new life to this lunchtime staple by using whole wheat tortillas instead of bread. You’re guaranteed to have a crowd pleaser when you fill with favorites like peanut butter and honey or turkey and Swiss.
“Try out new flavor combinations like apple and cheddar or pickles, too. Kids and parents will love an exotic twist on classic fixings,” says Andy Herald.
Lighten up to keep it chilled
There’s no need for special ice packs that kids need to lug around and remember to bring home each day. Instead, freeze juice boxes and pop one in lunch boxes in the morning before heading to school. The frozen drink will keep foods cool until lunch time when the juice will be thawed and ready to quench the thirst of your little academic all-stars.
Stock nutritious on-the-go snacks
Whether it’s breakfast on the way to school or a quick snack before soccer practice, stock up on wholesome snacks that curb hunger pangs and provide important nutrients for kids. Delicious Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches are mess-free and made with simple ingredients like 100-percent real fruit and no added sugar. With four tasty varieties – apple, cinnamon, strawberry and mango – there’s a flavor to satisfy all kids.
“Having nutritious, kid-approved snacks in their utility belts helps parents make it out the door in a hurry,” says Charlie Capen. “Just grab and go! Like Batman, obviously.”
Make veggies delightful
Every weekend, purchase fresh veggies for the week and chop them into bite-size pieces for easy packing throughout the school week. Invite kids to join you at the grocery store or farmers market to pick up interesting new varieties and tried-and-true favorites. Picky kid? Dip can make any vegetable more palatable. Try packing a container of low-fat ranch, yogurt or hummus, and veggies will magically disappear.