From strategies for packing lunches to the types of food to pack, featured in today’s parenting guide are the best tips from an expert baby food maker for getting your kids to eat healthy, well balanced meals during their back-to-school school lunches. After all, if you can get babies to eat nutritious food, you can easily prepare meals for elementary age kids, preteens, and teens.
5 Expert Tips on Packing Back-to School-Lunches
Whether you’re looking to make beautiful, Pinterest-worthy school lunches or simply get your kids to eat what you pack, the expert shares her must-do’s for packing back-to-school lunches and getting your kids to enjoy the food.
Today, the featured expert is Michele Olivier, the owner of Baby FoodE and the author of three baby food cookbooks and several e-books. You can check out Olivier on her Instagram page where it’s clear why her food is an inspiration for moms everywhere.
1: Prepare Kid-Friendly Salads
As a mom of two kids (who has tried out many types of pre-packaged food made for kids), Olivier suggests that, “serving a regular salad to most kids is just not going to happen– lettuce is a hard sell.” Instead of insisting that kids eat a regular salad, her trick is “to fill my girls’ bento boxes with a deconstructed version of the salads that I love serving, everything but the lettuce along with a dipping sauce (dressing).”
Since kids love a deconstructed salad with plenty of fruits, she goes on to say, “An entire plate of food that they just had to dunk into a fun dipping sauce? They were in love.”
2: Pack colorful food
When it comes to the types of food to pack, Olivier says, “Pack the rainbow! Colorful food is fun (and healthy) food. Putting together a box full of rainbow colors will grab their attention and get them thinking about what to try first.”
3: Use the right containers
Next, consider the type of container you’re packing the food in to get to the bottom of why the kids haven’t been enjoying their meals. Olivier says, “There are many different shapes of bento boxes. I’ve found that slightly rounded corners are crucial- for both the box itself and the compartments inside. Rounded corners on the outside keep kids from scratching themselves, and rounded corners inside make it easier for smaller kids to scoop food out.”
4: Keep food at the right temperature
When it comes to storing the food, nothing matters more than keeping the food at the right temperature. Olivier goes on to say, “Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. It may sound obvious, but it’s important in preventing food-borne illnesses. Most lunch bags come with an ice pack, but if not, you can purchase one at most grocery stores or online. To keep hot foods hot, use an insulated thermos that is prepped properly. ”
5: Make breakfast for lunch
For a fun idea, switch up your traditional lunch for a breakfast-inspired dish. Olivier says, “Breakfast for dinner = great idea. Breakfast for lunch = pure genius.”
She continues, “A healthy little handheld quick packs and transports well. Yogurt with homemade chia seed jam is beyond addicting and turns any plain yogurt into a delicious snack. Packed with some peas, grapes on a stick, and papayas dipped in spicy chocolate, this bento is a hit every time. A little savory + a little sweet is the perfect lunch combination.”
Olivier’s new book Little Bento is now available on Amazon.
What types of food do you usually pack for lunches? Share in the comments!