Use these clever tips to ensure your kids don’t get bored at lunchtime.
1. Up the colour. Bright colours are an easy way to get your child more interested in lunch. A rainbow of bright foods like carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, cherry tomatoes and strawberries looks appealing and provides great nutrition.
2. Offer variety. Packing at least three different types of food every day encourages kids to eat more. A bento-style container with separated food compartments allows kids to look and pick at everything all at once (check out our bento feature on p.96!)
3. Choose easy-to-eat foods. Foods that are easy to munch on will get more attention. Try sugar snap peas, or slice courgettes, cucumber and carrots into matchsticks. Use pastry cutters to cut sandwiches, quesadillas or pizza into shapes, and thread cheese, ham, cherry tomatoes or fruit onto cocktail sticks.
4. Get creative with what’s available. Mix things up by using last night’s leftovers in a new way. Serve meatballs in pitta breads with cheese and leaves, use leftover pasta in a salad or make almost anything into a quick quesadilla. Add cooked vegetables to sandwiches made with slices of leftover meat, and use cooked lentils, beans, couscous or quinoa as a base for a healthy, filling salad.
5. Give your child options. Empower your child by offering a choice between two options: would they prefer tuna or chicken in a sandwich, or for their salad to be made from pasta or rice? Allowing them a little more control makes them far more likely to eat what they’re given.
6. Mix and match. Don’t get hung up on including a “main” lunch component. Try turning the contents of your fridge into a mini tasting menu, offering lots of little bites like hummus and veg, cheese and grapes on sticks, crackers, cherry tomatoes, sliced pickles, a hard-boiled egg and/or whatever else you have. Kids love this approach!