Bring out the thermos! On cold Winter days, warm food makes for a much more satisfying school lunch than the standard PB&J or turkey sandwich. We've rounded up 15 kid-friendly hot dishes — from savory soups to comforting pastas — that'll stay deliciously flavorful and toasty till lunch.
Healthy snacks can be hard to find, and your kids are probably sick of the two or three you've been stocking for the last few years. But you don't have to find time to bake your own granola or make your own yogurt to mix things up. We've found eight new, healthy snacks that you can feel good about packing in lunch boxes or serving up after school. The best part? Your kids will never even suspect that they're loaded with healthy extras like whole grains, vitamins, and even hidden broccoli!
The lil taste of home that mama packed for lunch tastes much sweeter when tots know it was packed with love. Back to school means back to lunch-making for many moms. When packing tasty sandwiches and snacks consider throwing in a tiny note showing your lil scholar that you're thinking of him throughout the day. We know moms are too busy to write out meaningful notes each and every morning, so we've rounded up eight lunch note options that keep it simple and sweet during the morning rush. Happy lunch-making!
Between its sweet, salty taste and easy preparation, there's not much to hate about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But, every once in a while, even the classics need to be refreshed and we have just the ways. From popping it on the grill to adding fluff, your kids will love these fun additions and may even be a bit surprised. Find out our six favorite additions below!
- Add crunch: Everything tastes better with a little crunch! The next time you go to make your sandwich, try adding apple slices, granola, extra peanuts, or even a few chocolate chips. Yum!
- Turn to Elvis: Leave it to "the King" to know how to make a good sandwich. Elvis loved the combo of peanut butter and bananas and your kids will too. Some say add bacon as well, but that's not so lunchbox friendly. . .
- Throw it on the grill: A little heat will offer your sandwich a big upgrade — trust us. Throw your sandwich on the grill or panini press and watch the flavors melt together in perfection. The slight crunch of the toasted bread seals the deal. Just don't forget to serve with extra napkins!
- Get creative: Because a peanut butter and jelly is so basic, it leaves room for a lot of creativity. Try switching up the bread for tortillas, pretzel bread, croissants, or rice crackers. If you're really feeling really adventurous bust out the cookie cutters. After a little tweaking, they surly won't be trading their lunch.
- Switch up the pb and/or the jelly: Although the perfect pair, a little separation never hurt. Try swapping the jelly for marshmallow fluff, Nutella, or apricot preserve. As for the peanut butter, explore different nut butters like cashew or almond butter.
- Take it beyond the sandwich: Peanut butter and jelly is too good to be just a sandwich. Try mixing it up with French toast, muffins, or even in this waffle 'wich.
The countdown to Valentine's Day is on — and one of the things mama can do to celebrate this love-filled day is to make a special lunch for her lil one. Whether you're packing a lunch box or serving your tot at home, these 9 super-sweet Valentine's Day lunch ideas will have your kiddo head-over-heels by lunchtime!
If you've ever tucked an "I love you" note into your child's lunch you'll appreciate the TLC behind Derek Benson's amazing lunch bags. The father of three, who is also a painter and video game developer, customizes a brown paper lunch bag for each of his kids every day, decorating them with elaborate oil pastel drawings of characters from games and movies during his lunch hours and other free moments.
The special lunch bags garner a lot of attention for Benson's three kids from classmates at teachers at their school, and sometimes are given away as gifts once the kids have eaten the lunches inside.
Click through to see more of Benson's beautiful lunch bag drawings at Mashable.com. >>
Do you put special notes or drawings in your kids' lunch boxes?
It can be hard to pack a lunch when your child only eats a few things. Articles like 10 Easy, Healthy Lunchbox Ideas and A Week of Easy Lunch Menus provide a starting point, but moms of picky eaters need a little more help! Here are two suggestions for a new way to think about your eater, plus some lunch food alternatives.
Sort Out Why Your Child is Picky
Before setting up a lunch menu, Circle of Moms members suggest figuring out what kind of picky eater you have. Knowing that can help you make some decisions about how far you can push your child to try new foods.
Some kids, like Bernadette C.’s son, are "picky" because they have food allergies. Other kids, like Colleen B.’s son, have autism and are very fussy eaters due to sensory issues. These kids are reacting to things parents may not notice, like textures or strong smells.
Still other kids simply have a limited repertoire of foods they’re willing to try. They like what they like and they’re sticking to it. That’s the case with Aimee S.’ son. "He can be very stubborn and has been known to throw up things he doesn't like or want to try," she says.
What Foods Will (or Won’t) Your Child Eat?
The next thing to do is to really look at which foods are winners and which are losers for your child. This may not leave room for a lot of variety in your child’s lunchbox, but for many moms of picky eaters the goal isn’t variety– it’s getting your child to eat.
You might be surprised how helpful it can be to simply ask your child what she doesn’t like about lunch. That’s what happened to Circle of Moms member Kimberly S., who found out it’s the bread on sandwiches her kids don’t like. After this discovery, she started packing PB&J on crackers, or a cheese stick wrapped in lunch meat.
Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters
The best advice Circle of Moms members give about packing a lunch for a picky eater is that you need to think outside the lunchbox. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Roll Ups or Wraps: "Wraps can be great, tortillas come in lots of interesting colors and flavors," says a member named Coleen. A lot of moms simply put cheese on the tortilla or put sandwich filling in the tortilla. In fact, mom Nicole H. says she started wrapping everything in tortillas. For whatever reason, her son will eat more that way.
- Cold Pizza: Of course, you won’t always have leftover pizza, so mom Amy B. suggests making a single-serve frozen pizza the night before, and packing it for school. If your child doesn’t like cold pizza, try Maria M.’s tactic: Find a container that keeps food warm and pack pizza bagels.
- PB&J "Hotdog": Angie G. has an ingenious way of combining fruit and protein for her picky eater, something she calls the PB&J hotdog. "You put peanut butter on the hotdog bun, then a slice of banana and drizzle some jelly on top," she says.
- Cold Chicken Nuggets: A lot of picky eaters like chicken nuggets. Pack them cold, says mom Melissa M. Add a yogurt and some carrots, and she’s got a lunch her son will eat day in and day out. Your child won’t eat cold nuggets? Try Danielle B.’s idea of putting them in a thermos to keep them warm.
Most importantly, get your child involved in making lunch. If you make her part of the process, she will also become part of the solution.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.
It's easy to get into an after-school snack-time rut. The kids come home from school ravenous and reach for the first familiar thing they see. But what if the pantry was stocked with new fare this year — and all of it was healthy? Would your lil ones know the difference? Before picking up your typical brand of chips and crackers at the store, check out these nine additions to the snack-food aisle this year. We bet your tots will never even suspect that they're loaded with healthy things like omega-3 fatty acids, choline, and whole grains!Clockwise from top left: Funky Monkey Bananamon Snacks ($22/12), Clif Bar Kit's Organic Fruit + Nut Bar ($20/12), Kashi Soft Baked Squares ($5/five), Plum Kids Fruit & Veggie Shredz ($4/five), NatureBox ($20/month), Odwalla Garden Organics (available beginning Oct. 1), Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value Organic Fruit Cups, Bitsy's Brainfood Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin ($3), GoGo Squeez Applesauce on the Go ($34/48).
With a new school year around the corner, we'll all soon be trying to come up with packable lunches our kids will actually eat. To help, we've rounded up fresh lunch box ideas from real moms, including tempting kabob-style lunches and tasty pizza "scrolls.
Toss your brown lunch bags and plastic baggies in the trash — once and for all. Traditionally, packing a school lunch meant a brown paper bag, a sandwich in a plastic bag, plastic utensils, a paper napkin, and probably some chips or cookies in nonrecyclable packaging — averaging 67 pounds of lunch trash, per child, each year — a whole lot of landfill from just one kid's lunch. As consumers become increasingly committed to reducing waste, retailers and manufacturers are taking heed, and as the demand for sustainable goods has increased exponentially over the past decade, so has the variety and availability of environmentally friendly products. The zero-waste lunch is catching on quick — keep reading for a selection of products that will give kids a quick lesson in sustainability along with their lunch.