School’s back! Parents can rejoice, but one area that always leaves me frustrated is- school lunches! Packed lunches are a great option when your child doesn’t care for what the school has to offer or you want a little more control over what your child is eating. But what about school lunches for picky eaters? I’ve got some great recipes to share that are picky-eater (and mom!) approved!
If your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, packing lunches is a must. And, packing a lunch allows you to include healthy foods your child will actually eat and it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would be paying for lunch at school. But what if they don’t like what you pack?
Of course packing a lunch every day doesn’t do any good if your child doesn’t eat it or ends up trading most of it away for junk food. The key then is to find things that your child loves and enjoys eating.
The best place to start is to get your child involved. Depending on the age of your kids, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches. Not only do you know that they’ll pack something they will eat, being in charge of packing lunch will teach them responsibility.
Start by talking to your kids about what they want in their lunch box. Make a list of options and then head to the store so you have everything you need for the first week of school. Getting the kids as involved as much possible will make sure that they end up with lunches they will eat. For older kids that may mean making their own lunches (under your supervision of course).
Younger children can help. Even your kindergartener can wash grapes and put them into a container, or pick a snack for his lunch box. Get in the habit of making lunches together the night before.
Over time you can give the kids more and more responsibility for their lunches. This alone will help make sure they eat what they’ve packed. After all, it’s the lunch they made. Along the way you’re teaching them independence and important life skills.
Of course you want to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods. Insisting on all healthy, organic food options all the time may not be your best strategy though. Strike a balance and make compromises. If your kids pack and eat a healthy wrap or salad for example, let them have some cookies for dessert.
Teach them to make good choices, but don’t freak out if they decide to pack some Cheetos or a pack of Oreo cookies. Your goal is to get them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices, not restrict all access to junk food, causing them to trade with friends for forbidden Twinkies.
School Lunches For Picky Eaters
Banana Burrito Ideas
Cream Cheese & Jam
- Whole-Wheat Tortilla
- 1 Tbsps. Cream Cheese
- 1 sliced Banana
- 1 Tbsp. Jelly
Nutella and PB
- 2 tbsp. School Safe Peanut Butter
- 1 tbsp. School Safe Nutella
Fluffer Nutter Roll-Up
- 2 tbsp. School Safe Peanut Butter
- 1 tbsp. Marshmallow Fluff
Spread peanut butter or cream cheese over the tortilla. Peel banana and put it at the edge of the tortilla. Spread the banana with your optional topping (jelly, Nutella, marshmallow fluff) and then roll up the tortilla. Fold the ends to hold all the ingredients inside. For a yummy alternative warm up the tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds for an ooey gooey treat.
Pair with these items to make a delicious lunch your child will love.:
Non-sugary drink like Water, Bai, or Crystal Light
Italian Sausage & Broccoli Egg Muffins
- 1 lb. Italian Sausage
- 8 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
- 1/2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
In a large pan, fry up the sausage until it’s no longer pink. Remove from heat and add broccoli florets
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, oil, baking powder and salt and pepper.
Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with oil. Spoon the sausage mixture evenly into each tin. Pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 F
Refrigerate lunch portions overnight and add to lunch box in the morning. It’s portable and yummy!
Jello with fruit at the bottom
Ham & Mozzarella Sticks
- 4 Ham Slices
- 2 String Cheese Sticks
- 2 Green Olives
- 2 Toothpicks
Take two ham slices and wrap around one cheese stick. Add the olive to the seam and secure with the toothpick.
Red Seedless Grapes
100% Real Juice Box
- 1 Roll Your Favorite Biscuits
- 1/2 Ricotta Cheese
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
- 2 tsps. Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Dash Salt
- Dash Garlic Powder
Open the biscuits and roll each one out flat with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin take a little bit of flour and sprinkle over the rolling pin.
For each biscuit add a 1/4 tsp. of Parmesan cheese onto one half of the flattened biscuit. Then add 3 Tbsps. of mozzarella and a tsp. of ricotta. Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic powder. Fold the biscuit over on itself. Crimp with a fork.
Cook at 350F for 14-17 minutes or until the biscuit is golden brown.
Spaghetti sauce for dipping
Green salad with dressing
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 tsp. Each Salt and Dried Basil
- 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, cubed
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Yogurt
- 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
- 1/4 Cup Pizza Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Mozzarella, shredded
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and basil. Stir in cheddar cubes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt and butter until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until well combined and no dry spots remain. Add batter into muffin cups, dividing evenly. Spoon 1 tsp. pizza sauce on top of each muffin; sprinkle each with shredded mozzarella.
Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center of one of middle muffins comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing, then let cool completely on a wire rack. (Freeze muffins in an airtight container for up to 1 month; defrost at room temperature.)
Spinach salad with dressing
Simple Garlic Bread With Cheese
- Sliced white bread
- Garlic Powder
- Shredded Mozzarella And Cheddar
Super simple, just lay the bread on a baking sheet. Butter the slices, add a dash of garlic powder and top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted!
If you have a picky eater on your hands, lunch time can be a challenge! You want them to eat healthy and be full, so give these school lunches for picky eaters a try!