For little kids – They love to open small containers. I bought some 2 ounce containers with lids and used them for a few slices of cucumbers, nut butter or tofu spread for dipping baby carrots, 2 small ginger snaps, a couple of grape tomatoes, grapes and a couple of walnuts. Every one was like a small present.
For children 6 to 10 – School lunch is short. Some schools have a snack time or a snack that can be eaten while in class. Sandwiches are great, but everyone wants hot food in the cold weather. Heat up a thermos with hot water. Heat up a soup or stew at the last minute. Drain the thermos. The soup or stew will stay hotter in the heated thermos. Put a napkin between the thermos and any cold items. Don’t forget something crunchy to go with it – crackers or celery work fine. For the snack – a small container of apple sauce with cinnamon, snack bar or celery with nut butter and raisins work great.
For children 11-13 – Have them make lunch with you. They are beginning to need their independence. It will also get them in the kitchen and learning how to feed themselves. Set some guidelines – protein source, grain, fruit and drink. With the fall weather, you can alternating soy milk with local cider. If they have after school activities pack a snack and include water to drink.
For Teenagers – getting them to eat lunch at all is a good trick. However, either make it at home with guidelines or ask what’s available at school. Most schools have a card to swipe for purchased lunch. You set the cash amount for the card. Many food service directors will allow for specifics on purchases, such as “school lunch items only.” This means they can purchase any items designated as lunch for the school and not a la carte items such as french fries. Have your teen make their lunch. They can shop with you or make their own list of foods for lunch. Again, you are teaching them ready to feed themselves. If they have after school activities pack a snack that includes a beverage so they stay hydrated.
Hungry kids are grumpy kids. At every age, packing or purchasing enough food and drinks is the key. When you including your children in the process the food packed will more likely be eaten.