Children can be very picky when it comes to food and there is always a constant clash between healthy or tasty. The result is usually a leftover lunch. Finding a variety of lunch options that are tasty, healthy and look appealing can be tricky. If your lunchbox experiments haven’t been fruitful so far, why not try some clever hacks?
In this post, we share several ideas for a well-balanced and delicious lunch that preschool toddlers will enjoy without compromising their nutritional needs.
Tips to Make a More Attractive Lunch
The first impression has a lot to do with your child’s appetite which is why making the lunch look appealing and colourful is important. Here are some clever ideas:
- Small portions- Add small portions of different foods so that there is a variation in colour and texture. Attractively shaped cookies, pita chips and neatly cut and proportioned pieces of tacos and hummus are some options depending on what your child loves.
- Dips- Any snacks can become much tastier with the right dips. Prepare different types of dips and put them in an air-tight container to prevent spilling. They can be the perfect accompaniment to boiled veggies and crackers.
- Shapely bites- Cut fruits, veggies, tacos and anything too big to fit in using shaped-cutters to make them look attractive. You can use cookie cutters for this.
- Keep it neat- Avoid any food that might spill, drip or leak out of the box and create a mess.
Nutritive Lunch Suggestions
Here are some lunch options for a discerning pre-schooler:
- Pasta salad
There is rarely a kid who says, “no” to pasta. From the parent’s perspective, this is perhaps one of the easiest wholesome meals that can be prepared. To make it healthier, choose whole grain pasta and lighter dressings like Italian instead of cheese and mayo. Also consider pasta shapes like penne, elbow, and bow instead of spaghetti. Pack a filling portion of the cooked pasta tossed in a suitable dressing along with cut veggies like that your child loves. Toss in some protein in the form of a sliced hard-boiled egg or shredded grilled chicken.
- Lean protein options
For the non-vegetarian households out there- chicken, tuna, turkey,lean beef are great options. These are filling and high on protein, sodium, and other minerals. Prepare the lunch box with a portion of non-veg (low-sodium turkey, grilled chicken, quartered meatballs, ground turkey or beef), fibrous food (whole-wheat tortillas, tacos, crackers, and pita), and an assortment of boiled veggies (broccoli, peas, carrots, beans, bell peppers).
- Fruits, nuts, and sprouts
An assortment of nuts, raisins and fruits with boiled and seasoned sprouts are the perfect vegan alternative to a non-veg lunch as it contains plenty of nutrients. You can choose to replace meat with tofu and cottage cheese. Hummus, bite-sized fruits, and sprouts like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and sweetcorn are also highly filling and tasty at the same time.
Important Things to Keep in Mind:
Packing lunch for a preschooler is not limited to finding and stuffing the most nutritive and delicious items; there’s more to it. Here are a few things to consider.
- Cut and slice fruits, veggies, and tacos in bite-size portions to make it easier for them to chew.
- To avoid choking hazards, ensure meat chunks and pasta are tender enough.
- Pack different combination of items everyday or else the food will get boring and chances are that your child will bring back an untouched lunchbox.
The key to an interesting but healthy lunchbox is turning the nutritious foods into delicacies your child will love to eat. The preschool years are a time of growth for every child and to enjoy the interactive skill development programs, it is important that your child is full and happy about their lunch. Mix and match the various suggestions we have shared to come up with the ideal lunch menu for your child.