School lunches kids will want to keep

School lunches kids will want to keep


(METRO) — Most children are notoriously picky eaters. Perhaps refusing food is their way of asserting independence in a world run by adults. It is no secret that lunchtime antics in the school cafeteria often involve kids getting together and trading foods. There’s often one child who turns out the winner, scoring a French bread pizza or chicken nugget meal. On the flip side there’s the child who ends up with the leftovers -- the unwanted liverwurst sandwich, yuck!

As a parent you can ensure that the lunch you pack for your son or daughter will be a keeper, and most importantly, eaten. Keep these school lunch tips in mind:

* By the time kids get settled into the cafeteria and hunt and peck for a spot at the table, there is usually only 15 to 20 minutes of actual eating time left in the lunch session. Make sure foods packed are easily opened and convenient.

* Kids’ stomach’s are naturally smaller than adults’. As a result, they will eat less food than you do. Rather than packing a large sandwich or something that may seem overwhelming, pack snack-sized foods that are full of variety. Create a smorgasbord of foods in kid-friendly sizes. A cup of raisins here, a few crackers there, and some slices of cheese can add up to a nutritious and manageable lunch.

* Think outside of the box (or bag) for lunch. Who says kids need to eat the requisite peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread? Change things up. Use tortillas, rice cakes, cinnamon bread or English muffins and a host of different ingredients. Why not send him or her to school with two pancakes? If that’s what’s liked, so be it.

* If your child wants to eat mac and cheese every day for a week, don’t make a big deal about it. As long as he or she is getting enough of a variety through other foods, why not allow the repetition? Try adding more nutritional value by making it with whole wheat pasta, or adding broccoli florets.

* Let your child be the chef at lunch. Send him or her to school with a variety of ingredients so that a personalized meal or sandwich can be created.

* Don’t rule out school-supplied lunches. Kids like to fit in, so if your daughter or son’s friends are all lining up for school grub, send a few bucks to school so your child can join in the line.

* Try a fun recipe that combines kids’ love of something different with your attention to nutritional value like this one for a sandwich on a stick,” courtesy of Family Fun.


Sandwich on a Stick or Stickwich


Ingredient ideas:



lunch meat

grape tomatoes





1. Cut up cubes of bread, cheese, and lunch meat. See if the deli slicer can provide 1/2-inch-thick slices of ham and turkey, or whatever kinds of lunch meat is liked best.

2. Slide the cubes onto a skewer with other foods your child likes, such as a grape tomato, a piece of lettuce, a pickle, or an olive.

3. Pack a side of mayo or mustard for dipping.