Thinking up healthy lunch box ideas for kids can be daunting, especially when you have picky eaters. Variety is key and a colorful presentation helps, too. Who wants a simple peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwich and carrot sticks when you can have a skewer of fruit and PB&J stars? Healthy food does not have to be boring---add a variety of colorful, fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat, high protein whole foods and you are sure to be a hit with the lunch crowd.
Cookie Cutter Lunches
Cookie cutters add pizazz to an otherwise ho hum sandwich. Hundreds of different size and shape cookie cutters are available at your local craft and grocery stores. Make a sandwich the way you normally do using wholegrain breads, fresh cheeses and lunch meats, then press a three- to four-inch cookie cutter into the center. Place the sandwich in sealable sandwich bag and put a "Great Kid!" sticker on the top.
Find a box of colored swizzle sticks or coffee stirrers in the baking section of your local grocery store. Skewer strawberries, apples, grapes, pineapple chunks, and a cheese cube on top of a swizzle stick and wrap it tightly in colored plastic wrap. Make a second swizzle with cheese and meat cubes and wrap that in a different color wrap. Make sure there is a freezer pack in the lunch box to keep the fruit, meat and cheese fresh until lunch. Add a fruit drink and a small box of raisins for a lunch that your kids will love.
Mini Pita Pockets
Mini pita pockets are in the deli section of your local grocery store and come in three- and six-inch sizes. Fill one or two pitas with cheese, meat, and lettuce for a lip-smacking healthy lunch. You can add a variety of sandwich items such as tomato slices, avocado, sprouts, and hummus. Core, then stuff an apple with grapes and raisins. Add a bottle of flavored water and you have a perfectly healthy lunch.
Sticks and Stones
Cheese sticks are loaded with calcium and protein and make a perfect lunch time treat. Add to that a cup of seasonal melon chunks and a sandwich bag of grapes. For an added treat, mix a handful of pretzel sticks with a cup of trail mix. Drop in a fruit drink box and you have the perfect lunch.
Mix It Up
Try adding a variety of lunch box treats that your kids have not had before. How about apple and pear slices, two rice cakes covered with peanut butter and thinly sliced strawberries, a cup of popcorn, and a bottle of vitamin water. Try peanut butter stuffed celery sticks and chunks of ham and cheese or perhaps a boiled egg, some graham crackers and a bag of green and red grapes. Use creative packing ideas such as colorful party plates covered in plastic wrap and seasonal cellophane bags.