Packing lunch for your young child can be difficult. Prepping fruits and vegetables, making sure you have the right balance of food groups, and managing to get it all together in a short period of time, can all make the morning routine stressful. As the mother of a preschooler, who has packed a lunch for the last almost 3 years, I have found some terrific time-saving treats perfect for lunch boxes. Try these foods to make your lunch packing simpler while still maintaining a healthy, balanced meal.
Yogurt Smoothies. These tasty, high calcium treats are fun for young children to eat (or drink, rather) and are quite cost effective when purchased with a coupon. Fun colors and flavors, along with a sweet taste, make yogurt smoothies kid-friendly, while the portability, ease, and nutrition make them a favorite of mom and dad too.
Dried Fruit. Sometimes prepping fresh fruit can be too much for busy mornings. Try adding dried fruit to your young child’s lunchbox. Raisins, cranberries, apricots, and more come in portable, portioned packages that are lunchbox ready. Do expect to pay a bit for dried fruit but the nutrients and fiber that these dried fruits provide are great for your child’s nutrition.
Terra Chips. These root vegetable chips are unique and tasty. Parsnips, sweet potatoes, and more are turned into tasty, crunchy chips. These chips are lower in fat than typical potato chips and offer more in the way of nutrition. But they are fun and tasty to eat and very easy to toss in a lunch box.
String Cheese. Individually wrapped string cheese is so easy to throw in a lunchbox and what kid doesn’t love cheese? The low calories and high calcium of string cheese make this economical choice a must for quick lunch box fixes.
Archer Farms Fruit Bars. Sold at Target, Archer Farms fruit bars are 100% dried fruit packed into a tasty, sweet bar then drizzled with yogurt. The bars almost feel like a fruit roll-up or dessert, but in reality are just dried fruit. And what is easier than throwing a wrapped bar into your child’s lunch box?
Baby Carrots. Baby carrots may seem like a no brainer, but some kids are opposed to raw vegetables. A new initiative by carrot farmers has baby carrots coming in appealing “junk food” packaging that often entice young, picky eaters.
Sugar Snap Peas. Sugar snap pears are another vegetable that you may be able to sneak into your kid’s lunchbox with ease. The crunchy texture and mild flavor is a hit with young eaters. Just separate out your peas into baggies when you bring them home from the grocery and they are ready to throw into the lunch box in the morning.
Berries. Berries are a super simple, super healthy fruit to add to your child’s lunch box. All the prep berries need is a quick rinsing. Place them in small plastic containers and they are lunch box ready. Berries are easily sweet enough to be eaten alone and they don’t require any utensils since they are already in bite-sized pieces making them a perfect item for your young child’s lunch box.
Au’some Fruit Nuggets. This alternative to sugary fruit snacks is great to throw in your child’s lunch box. Made with real fruit juice, these tasty little nuggets have much less sugar than traditional fruit snacks, but are just as tasty and just as portable.
Hummus. Many young children love dipping their food. Why not forgo the ranch dressing and try sending hummus? You can find hummus in single serve packs or quickly create your own with small plastic containers. Hummus is high in protein and fiber and makes a great dip for whole grain crackers or raw vegetables.
Coming up with healthy, tasty, and fast foods for your young child’s lunch box can really be a challenge. Hopefully some of these top ten favorites will give you new inspiration for your child’s lunch and save you some time and hassle on those busy mornings.