Fun Ideas to Relieve Lunchbox Boredom

The first month of school is now behind us, and sandwich boredom is probably already setting in. Those of us with school-aged kids know the challenge of packing fun lunches that our little ones actually want to eat! And, while children are known to eat the same things over and over, it’s always great to get them excited for new foods (not to mention, it’s healthier!).

Here are some fun ideas that may bring some excitement back to lunchtime!

Presentation is Everything

I found a great post in the archives over at Of Such is the Kingdom, showing some great ways to make lunch both cute and fun! And while Olivia, the blogger, is a homeschooling mom who pre-packs her kids’ lunches to simplify her routine, her fun ideas (curated from several other awesome blogs) are totally transportable!

Especially fun are the uniquely shaped sandwiches (created with cookie cutters), the use of festive cupcake toppers as skewers to hold things together, and bento-box style containers to keep everything separated – something that’s of the utmost importance to some picky eaters!

Fun lunchbox ideas, image courtesy Of Such is the Kingdom

(Fun lunchbox image credit: Lisa Storms, via Of Such is the Kingdom)

Skip the Sandwich

Looking for an alternative to the same old sandwiches? I sourced these options from all over the web and can’t wait to try them on my kids:

  • Turkey (or ham) Roll-ups - Who needs bread? Roll your child’s favorite deli meat and sliced cheese (cream cheese, or even flavored cream cheese spreads, work great too!) for a protein packed finger food option.
  • Dip Crazy - Baby carrots, celery sticks, and sliced bell peppers taste great with hummus! Apples dipped in peanut butter or almond butter (or sunflower butter, if your child’s school has a nut-free policy) is another favorite.
  • Think Salad - Pasta salad, egg salad, chicken salad or tuna salad are a great alternative to sandwiches! Consider adding crackers, or for protein-based salads, serving them inside a wrap.
  • Lunchables Done Right - Instead of the sodium-heavy prepackaged kits, make your own with nutritious crackers, cheeses and turkey pepperoni.
  • Breakfast for Lunch – Lots of quiches and frittatas taste great cold, and can be baked in muffin tins for easy portability!

Party on the Side

Whether you serve a sandwich or something different as the “main course,” kids are always eager to get to the sides! Here are three fun things you can serve that are healthier and more exciting than the usual potato chips and piece of fruit -

  • Fruit Shapes: Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes from watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and more! Serve the shapes as-is, or add them to skewers (remember those fun cupcake toppers!) with grapes and strawberries for fruit that’s anything but boring.
  • Trail Mix Transformed: Get your child to help you make their own special trail mix with their favorite ingredients: any combination of dried fruits, cereals, nuts (if your school allows them), pretzels and healthy sweet treats will work!
  • Chips and Salsa: Baked tortilla chips with a side of healthy tomato salsa are fun to eat and pack an unexpected serving of vegetables!

Don’t Forget the Love

Of course, the very act of packing a homemade lunch is something you do with love – but your kids will feel extra special when you include a little message from Mom! You can make this as simple or as creative as you want – jot a note on their napkin, or take a little time on the weekend to write a bunch of little cards for the upcoming week. However you present your love note, it’ll brighten your child’s day!

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