It’s always hard to convince kids to bring a brown bag lunch instead of buying food with their friends, especially with the tempting but unhealthy choices available at many schools.The key to creating a quick and successful brown bag lunch for your child is balancing taste with nutrition and health.
I have found it best to stick to the time honored tradition of a sandwich, some side snacks, and something sweet to finish off the lunch. A good idea is to be able to make several different sandwich types, such as turkey, peanut butter and jelly, or sliced ham. This is especially useful for picky eaters.
For snacks to accompany the sandwich, consider buying baked potato chips. Unlike fried chips, baked chips contain much less fat and salt, while still looking and tasting enough like “junk food” to satisfy your kids. Other good snacks include bags of carrots or celery sticks, flavored crackers such as Cheese-Its or Ritz Bits Sandwich crackers, granola bars, and noodles or pasta in reusable plastic containers.
Of course, no lunch is complete without a sweet dessert at the end! While cookies are always an option, consider healthier choices such as apples or easily peeled Clementine oranges. Applesauce or apple slices to dip in honey are also sweet but healthier treats.
Encouraging kids to take healthy brown bag lunches requires a delicate balance between foods that taste great and foods that are healthy. As always, compromises are best; consider letting your kids buy lunch one day a week, or allow them to assist in packing their own lunches to encourage both self-sufficiency and to let them feel in control by picking out what they want to eat. With encouragement, brown bag lunches can become a privilege rather than a chore for your children.