When school time rolls back around, parents start to search for ways to bring some fun to the lunchbox for their kids. Opening a packed lunch is one way to let a child know they are thought of, even if you aren’t there with them. Some may think it is important to come up with fancy or elaborate meals, but few have time for creating a work of art in a box. Parents also have issue with items coming home or going to waste because the child doesn’t like something. So how can you increase the health of a lunch and the probability that it will get consumed?
Instead of thinking big, think simple. One of the key tips I give to parents is that children like to have some involvement in their menu. They also love to help make their food and customize it to their liking. For a side or an after school snack few things can pack in a bunch of nutrients and appeal as a trail mix. The possibilities are really endless for combinations. You can make a sweet or savory blend. Pick ingredients such as cereal to add fiber, nuts for protein, and fruit for vitamins, minerals, and a touch of sweet. As a bonus, it is super easy to throw together!
You will need:
A big bowl
Labels (come up with fun names for different blends)
Toasted Oatmeal O cereal
Puffed grain cereal
Unsweetened rice square cereal
Unsweetened banana chips
Peanuts or almonds (if allowed nuts at school)
Mini chocolate chips
In a bowl, combine ingredients as you choose. Try to make a grain the base of the mix. Use a 2:1 ratio of cereal or popcorn to nuts and dried fruit. Once the ingredients are combined, portion out into baggies or ½ cup containers and place a label on the package. Children will take pride in their self-created snack and enjoy spending the extra time with you.
In health, Angela