When choosing a kids lunch box for your child, there are several factors many parents should consider. These factors include the size of the box, the materials it is made from, a design and the uses for the box. Most lunch boxes are used for packing a lunch; although, some children might bring a lunch box to carry a snack to school.
The first factor to look at when buying kids lunch boxes is what size you need. Most people buy a standard, or average, size box; which holds a normal size lunch for a child. If the box is only for a snack, look for a smaller lunch box. If your child eats a couple times during the day, you may want to look for an extra-large box.
Another factor in choosing a lunch box is whether or not you would need an insulated box. Insulated lunch boxes are extremely common. They are ideal to help foods and drinks stay cool. With an insulated lunch box, it is still important to allow room for a cold source, such as an ice pack or frozen, reusable chill cube.
If you choose a lunch box that does not have room for an ice source, consider freezing the child’s drink and use that as the cold source. By the time he eats the lunch, the drink will likely be thawed enough for him.
The three common materials used to make lunch boxes are plastic, fabric and metal. Metal lunch boxes are not as common as they once were. They are often prone to rust, making them unusable after a while. Plastic lunch boxes are great because they are easy to clean. If you own a plastic kids lunch box, you can easily wipe the box with a wet cloth to clean it. A fabric lunch box is another option. These are not quite as easy to clean; however, some of them are machine washable. When choosing the material for a lunch box, keep in mind where the child will store the lunch until it is eaten. If the child will throw it in his bag and is prone to being squashed, you might consider looking for a lunch box that has a hard exterior to prevent the lunch from being squashed.
There are numerous other things to look for when buying kids lunch boxes. One of these is design. Many lunch boxes come with a Velcro closure, making it easy for children to open and shut. For kids, one of the most important factors is the design on the outside. Find a lunch box with a picture or design of something the child likes. If you do this, the child will more likely enjoy bringing his lunch to school, and eating it.
As a parent, caregiver, or even as a picky eater yourself, you understand the struggle of finding lunch ideas that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Picky eaters are notoriously difficult to please, but with the right approach and some creativity, it’s possible to prepare delicious and nutritious meals that even the pickiest eaters will love. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips and ideas for lunch that will help you cater to picky eaters.
Tip 1: Involve the picky eater in meal planning and preparation
One of the best ways to get picky eaters excited about lunch is to involve them in the meal planning and preparation process. Ask them for their input and suggestions, and let them help you choose ingredients and prepare the meal. When picky eaters feel like they have a say in what they’re eating, they’re more likely to be open to trying new foods.
Tip 2: Be creative and experiment with different flavors and textures
Picky eaters often have very specific preferences when it comes to flavors and textures. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same old boring lunches every day. Experiment with different combinations of flavors and textures to find what works for the picky eater. For example, if they don’t like sandwiches with traditional fillings, try adding different spreads or sauces or using different types of bread. Be creative and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Tip 3: Make the meal visually appealing
One of the simplest ways to make a meal more appealing to picky eaters is to make it visually appealing. Use colorful ingredients and arrange them in an appealing way. For example, you could make a rainbow fruit salad or arrange veggies in a fun pattern. When food looks good, it’s more tempting to try.
Tip 4: Serve small portions and gradually introduce new foods
If a picky eater is reluctant to try new foods, it’s important not to force them. Instead, serve small portions and gradually introduce new foods over time. This way, the picky eater can get used to the new flavor or texture without feeling overwhelmed. If they don’t like a particular food, don’t make a big deal out of it. Just try again another day.
Tip 5: Respect the picky eater's preferences but encourage them to try new foods
Finally, it’s important to respect the picky eater’s preferences while still encouraging them to try new foods. If they have a strong aversion to a particular food, don’t force them to eat it. Instead, offer a variety of other foods that they do like. However, continue to introduce new foods and encourage them to take small bites and try new things. Over time, their taste buds may change, and they may develop a liking for new foods.
Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters:
Now that we’ve covered some tips for preparing lunch for picky eaters, let’s dive into some specific lunch ideas that are sure to please even the most finicky eaters.
Sandwiches and wraps are classic lunch staples, but they can get boring if you always stick to the same fillings. Try different types of bread, wraps, and fillings to mix things up. Here are some ideas:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Grilled cheese sandwich
Turkey and cheese wrap
Chicken salad sandwich
Hummus and veggie wrap
Quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches are warm and comforting lunches that are easy to make and customize. Here are few ideas:
Chicken and cheese quesadilla
Ham and cheese grilled sandwich
Tomato and mozzarella grilled sandwich
Pasta and rice dishes are versatile and can be customized to suit a picky eater's preferences.
Here are easy ideas to try:
Mac and cheese
Spaghetti with marinara sauce
Fried rice with veggies and chicken
Buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese
Salads may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of picky eaters, but they can be a great option if you use familiar ingredients. Here are some ideas:
Caesar salad with croutons and chicken
Cobb salad with bacon and hard-boiled eggs
Chef salad with turkey and cheese
Fruit salad with honey yogurt dressing
Smoothies are a great way to sneak in fruits and veggies without the picky eater even realizing it.
Strawberry banana smoothie
Mango peach smoothie
Peanut butter banana smoothie with spinach
Blueberry kale smoothie
Bento boxes are a fun and customizable lunch option that allows you to include a variety of finger foods. Here are some simple ideas:
Turkey and cheese roll-ups
Baby carrots and cucumber slices with ranch dressing
Apple slices with peanut butter
Cheese cubes and crackers
In conclusion, preparing lunch for picky eaters doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these tips and ideas, you can offer nutritious and delicious meals that even the most finicky eaters will love. Remember to involve the picky eater in the meal planning and preparation process, be creative, make the meal visually appealing, serve small portions, and encourage them to try new foods. With these strategies, you’ll be able to expand their palate and offer a wider variety of foods that they’ll enjoy.
Awareness of Celiac Disease and the increase need for gluten-free foods has made it more accessible for parents when preparing gluten-free meals. Having a child that needs to be on a gluten-free diet can be very challenging, but luckily more and more grocery stores carry these products ready to eat and pack up in your child's lunch box.
Here are a few stats on Celiac Disease:
*1 out of every 133 Americans are diagnosed with Celiac Disease (thats 3 million people!)
*It takes an average of 11 years for a person to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
*It was only in 2006 when the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act became law allowing for easier reading of food labels!
Here are some tips when preparing your kid's lunch box:
1. First and foremost, consult with a Registered Dietician. It's so important to get all the nutritional background and education needed to make the right choices and pick the right foods. Did you know that just because it states "Gluten-free" does NOT necessarily mean it is. There are hidden gluten ingredients such as wheat starch, barley syrup, and soy sauce. Celiac Disease can cause damage to the digestive tract, thus causing nutritional deficiencies. It's vital to get the correct information to be able to address such nutritional deficiencies and heal the intestinal tract.
2. Ya gotta learn how to cook! Children with newly diagnosed CD make a mistake by thinking they can have a GF diet while eating the same fast food and restaurant items. This is not so! It's important to make the food at home, especially in the beginning of learning how to eat Gluten-Free. A lunch box filled with appetizing GF foods are a must to keep your child healthy!
Children who need to avoid gluten miss out on all the great kids' classic favorites like mac n cheese, pizza, and chicken nuggets! Not anymore. Now there are ways around it so that your child can enjoy these foods gluten-free!
To modify the mac n cheese, all you need to do is make this simple type of cheese sauce and add it to a bed of cooked rice pasta. To make the sauce, add 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of white rice flour to make a smooth roux. Add 3 cups of milk and 2 cups cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth enough to mix with the cooked pasta.
For chicken nuggets, dip the chicken tenders in beaten eggs and in finely crushed tortilla chips that are gluten-free. Bake at 350 degrees F until browned and the chicken is cooked through.
For pizza, there are Gluten-Free pizza crust. Add other GF items to the top of the pizza and...wha la...you got a pizza for dinner!
LUNCHTIME MEAL OPTIONS FOR YOUR CHILD'S LUNCH BOX
The following items can be used either for snack time or lunch time. Foods such as plain popcorn, gluten free yogurt, pudding, fresh fruit, and rice crispie treats (made with GF brown rice cereal) are just a few suggestions.
Bread made gluten-free can be used when making a deli meat or nut butter and jam sandwich. There are also gluten-free cheeses available to add on to the sandwich as well or as a snack. Left overs from the night before are also good to pack in their lunch box (make sure that you add a cold pack in there to keep the refrigerated items cold for safety purpose, if your child does not have a refrigerator to put their lunch in at school).
SOME EXTRA TIPS:
*Get your child involved in the process of making a correct gluten-free lunch menu.
*Emphasize the importance to your child not to share or switch lunches with friends.
*Teach your child the importance of a gluten-free diet.
*Talk with your child's school dietician. Are there GF items offered to kids in the cafeteria? If not, you may want to start an awareness program in your child's school about the importance of such a meal.
*And lastly, change up the menu to make the meals appetizing and fun for your child. The same ol' meal day after day in the lunch box would make any person not interested in eating. Add new and different GF items in your child's lunch. There are so many recipe books strictly dedicated to GF foods. Try those recipes out. You may be surprised at how yummy the foods really can be!
It can be challenging as a parent having a child with Celiac Disease. There are support groups available as well as nutritional counselors in helping to keep your child healthy and happy on a Gluten free diet.