Our kids are the most important thing in our lives and they play a crucial role in our well-being and happiness.
But how to make a good lunch for school kids? This is often one of the difficult questions for every parent out there even though the answer to the question is very simple. The short answer is to make healthy food seem tasty to kids.
To know more, keep reading on.
The early growing stages of childhood are especially important because this is the time the kids are very active and require lots of nutrition.
We have two kids in our family and both of them are going to school. I and my wife are very serious about their school lunch because it must be tasty and at the same time very nutritious as well.
My wife prepares the school lunch for our kids because she knows best what’s good for our kids. Also, she is very careful while preparing because the food must be light on the stomach and should not cause any stomach-related ailments. Hence careful planning goes to the preparation of lunch for our kids.
When I was a school kid myself several years back, I can remember how my mother used to make me some of the delicious lunch during school days. I loved the taste of the prepared lunch.
If I recall those memories, I just feel how grateful my childhood was and this post will help all the people out there on how to make the best lunch for their kids.
When I told the story about my childhood lunches that my mom used to prepare me, she was absolutely inspired. Hence I and my wife decided to prepare the best lunch possible for our kids with great care and affection.
Kids usually love their food only when the taste of the food is great. When we provide bitter gourd salad considering their great health benefits, no kid will ever eat it because the taste is very bitter, to begin with.
We know for a fact that all vegetables are super healthy, but it is super difficult to make a child eat the veggies because of the taste. This is one of the biggest concerns for many of the parents out there.
Also whenever we make tasty lunch for our kids, we always hear about how their friends loved the taste of the food and also share some of the food with them as well. This fosters healthy friendships between them. In fact, this validates the term, “sharing is caring”.
Hence, I and my wife embarked on a journey about what lunch do kids like for school and also what’s the best lunch any parent can make for their kids.
As a first step, we sat down with our kids and spoke. We discussed a lot in great detail about the foods which they liked and what could we do to make them better.
After the discussion, we had great insights from a kid’s perspective on what they liked and which foods mesmerized them.
Often a lot, we tend to not understand what our kids like and shove all the healthy veggies which they don’t like and end up thinking we did our best even though it isn’t a great experience for the child.
Just remember the criteria that the food we prepare must be tasty and healthy. Throughout this post, we will make sure whether the foods satisfy these criteria.
Below are the 5 ways that you could make the lunch more interesting for kids:
1. Make tasty and healthy sandwiches
Sandwiches are a great option to go because it ticks our criteria of tasty and moderately healthy as well.
Everyone loves sandwiches including kids. The irony is that we eat cheese stuffed sandwiches all the time but we stuff the sandwiches with lots of veggies thinking about the health benefits that bring to our kids. We themselves don’t eat vegetable stuffed sandwiches, right?
Then how can we expect our kids to eat the vegetables? The taste factor of the vegetables hinders the child to eat lunch which makes a bad experience for them.
Making tasty sandwiches is the key to this problem.
We know that sandwiches are a high-calorie food and should be intaken in moderation. If you consider that to be a factor, wheat sandwiches are a great option because they contain comparatively fewer calories and have high fiber content which makes them a great light food option.
Use Mixed fruit jam along with butter for the sandwiches. For each sandwich, we have two slices of bread. Spread the jam on one slice and the butter on the other. Now place the slice of bread on top of the other and cut them diagonally and pack them for lunch.
Our kids loved the jam sandwich better than vegetable stuffed sandwiches.
Now apart from jam sandwiches, if you wish to have other types of sandwiches, it is often better to discuss with your child and pack the lunch as per their linkings. By this, we can ensure that no food goes to waste.
Egg sandwiches are also a great option which went well with our kids. But as I said, better consult with the kids before packing them the lunch.
Some of the great options which we discovered as the best school lunch sandwiches are:
- Jam Sandwich
- Fried Mushroom Sandwich
- Banana Sandwich
- Cheese Fried Sandwich
- Potato Stuffed Sandwich
- Stuffed Veggie Sandwich (Only if your kid loves vegetables)
- Egg Sandwich
- Stuffed Chicken Sandwich
2. Fry the Vegetables
Frying the vegetables instead of boiling is a great work around to make you kid like vegetables.
We would have all noticed, kids love sweet things such as sugar and candies and deep-fried food such as potato chips and chicken fries.
It is because that they have a great taste which makes them a popular option among kids.
More often than them we are concerned because of the health issues that these foods can cause. Yes, it is true that deep-fried foods are detrimental to health in the long term.
Hence we asked the straightforward question to our kids that what would it take for them to make the vegetables tasty and make them edible.
As an adult, we already know the answer for this question, but more often we do not think about it because we do not think from a kids perspective. After all, kids are too part of us, right?
The answer gave by our kids was that if you fry the vegetables and pack them for lunch instead of boiling, we would love to eat.
At first, we were naturally concerned that frying comes with a lot of oil in the process. Hence, I and my wife thought about ways to fry the vegetable without the oil. Hence we came up with the option of air-fried vegetables because it was super healthy as there was no oil involved. This can be done with the help of air fryers. You can purchase from Amazon using the link provided here for air fryers.
But we do understand that most of us do not have the luxury of having air fryers at home to solve exactly this purpose. Hence I would suggest frying the vegetables for lunch as we normally would using oil. But the caveat here is that once the vegetables are fried well, drain the oil using cooking grade tissue paper.
Also, add a little less salt than usual as more salt in fried food tends to spoil the natural taste of the food.
This option of frying vegetables also ticks our criteria of healthy as well as tasty lunch for school kids.
Some of the different ways of making crunchy and tasty vegetables are:
- Frying the vegetables in oil
- Air frying the vegetables directly in an air fryer
- Baking the vegetables directly in an oven
- Roasting the vegetables directly in a frying pan without oil
3. Make different varieties of tasty omelet
Omelet as food has an unpopular opinion among parents because there are several misconceptions and confusions regarding egg as food and hence most of us tend to ignore the usage of egg in school kids lunch
This post helps to clear out the misconceptions regarding the usage of omelets for kids.
This food option easily satisfies our criteria of both being tasty and healthy at the same time.
Also, there is another hidden component that we tend to ignore while preparing lunch as a parent. Any routine preparation of food should have the factor of how easy it is to prepare the lunch.
Because some times both the parents might be working professionals and they must juggle between their professional lives as well as cooking and household chores. Hence preparing an omelet for lunch satisfies the criteria of being an easy food to cook.
When we first pitched the idea of cooking an omelet for lunch to our kids, even though they were skeptical at first. But eventually, they liked it and their friends liked this concept and also asked their parents to cook the same lunch for them.
Our idea was to not cook simple plain omelets because it would bore them and make it a less palatable option. Hence we decided to add different ingredients to the omelet so that it would be interesting to the kid as well.
The concept was similar to pizza where it would have different toppings. We used this same strategy because it made our life easier and provided us with more options to cook the same food but with different options.
Some of the different types of omelet that you can cook for school kids are:
- Scrambled egg omelet (First some of the egg is scrambled and again used as a topping for the next omelet)
- Finely Chopped and boiled Mixed Vegetable omelet
- Chicken omelet (Boiled chicken is flavored with salt and pepper and scrambled as a topping on the omelet)
- Capsicum omelet
- White Yolk omelet (A super healthy food option leaving the egg yolks out)
- Sweet corn omelet (Sweet corn kernels are boiled and used as a topping – Kids love it)
4. Serve them pancakes for lunch
Kids love pancakes for lunch.
A pancake is a popular option for breakfast. Since it’s also heavier at the same time, we thought why can’t we make it as a lunch option. Guess what? Our kids absolutely loved it.
This lunch option ticks our checklist of being healthy and tasty at the same time but not the easy check box option. This is because pancake as lunch is somewhat difficult to prepare for working professionals.
Hence to solve this problem, prepare the pancake batter ready to use whenever needed and place it in the refrigerator. This helps to solve the problem of pancake preparation.
Another healthier option for pancakes is to use wheat flour instead of processed flour because processed flour is stripped of vital nutrients during processing the flour. Hence I advise to use wheat flour as it contains natural ingredients and also high protein and fiber content. This makes it a healthier option of lunch for kids.
Also, kids love sweetness just like how sweet they are. Hence sweet pancakes are a good option that satisfies our checklist. Honey pancakes are none such great option.
Some of the best pancakes which our kids liked the most were:
- Honey Pancake
- Avocado Pancake
- Chocolate Pancake (Once in a while because it has high sugar content)
- Apple Sauce Pancake
- Banana Pancake
5. Ask the kids directly about which food they like
This option is the best among all other options because asking the kid directly saves a lot of time for the parent as well as the kids.
Many of us do the mistake of assuming what’s best for our kids without understanding their perspective and end up serving food which the kids do not like and hence leading to food wastage.
Hence I strongly recommend sitting with your kids and have a detailed discussion on their food likings and their opinions about food. Sometimes you would be surprised that your kids have a natural affinity toward vegetables which is great.
Understanding your kids in the first place is the best approach for successful parenting. Also, it is very important that the questions that you ask should be easily understandable by your kid.
You can ask direct simple questions like:
- What are the different types of food you like?
- What vegetables do you like the most?
- Will you eat the vegetables if it’s fried?
- What are the various lunch foods that you can imagine?
How can you tell if your kid did not like the lunch food?
The first tell-tale sign that your kid did not like the food is that you can find leftover food in the lunch box.
If a kid does not like the food, most probably it is due to the taste of the food that he/she did not like. Also sometimes you can receive complaints from the school that your child is wasting the food.
Sometimes if your kid has a very close friend, they can probably comment honestly about the food. You can take that as honest feedback and make some necessary workarounds for the lunch. Because most probably kids do not tell the complete truth to their parents. This comes from first-hand experience as a parent.
You can also check during dinner time if the child makes negative facial actions when the food is presented, you can take that as an example that your kid does not like that particular food. Hence it does not make sense to make it as lunch food.
How to make a good lunch for school kids using a timetable?
Time table is the best option to go if you are planning for a routine lunch for your kids.
Also, timetables serve as a reminder of what was the last lunch you made for school, and timetables can be replaced each week and whenever needed. This also helps to break the boredom lunch routine.
We have 5 timetables handy and each timetable has 5 lunch menus for each day. Also, the timetables are prepared based on a thorough discussion with the kid.
The food that goes into the timetable must be tasty, healthy and at the same time easy to make for the parent. In this way, you can ensure your kid is having the best lunch experience in school.
Some foods to avoid for school kids lunch
Even though there are many food options available out there for school lunch, some foods that should be avoided are:
- Bitter Gourd is strict no because of its pure bitterness and it is not a good go on the taste buds even though it has immense health benefits.
- Any food that has curd as its ingredient should be avoided because there is a chance of a leak and has a higher chance of food spoilage.
- Boiled vegetables should be given as per the likings of each child. If the child has a natural affinity towards boiled vegetables then it’s great. Else it is better to avoid them.
- Meats should be ignored mostly as it is heavy on the stomach and should be used in lunch once in a while.
How To Keep Food Warm For Lunch?
Food tastes best when it is warm. Hence it is important to keep the food warm so that lunch becomes a better experience for the person.
But we have a problem with food for lunch because when the food is prepared in the morning, it is kept in the lunch box for 5 to 6 hours till lunch causing the food to go cold.
Food can be kept warm by using a hot pack from Tupperware. They act as excellent insulators keeping the food warm inside.
Also, wrap an aluminum foil surrounding the lunch box. Aluminum foil is an excellent heat insulator. I personally prefer wrapping aluminum foil around the lunch box as they are an excellent solution to the food becoming cold soon problem. Also, they are cheap as well.
Woolen clothes can also be used to cover the lunch boxes if you are from a colder climate. Also, woolen gloves can be used to cover the lunch box, thereby preventing the lunch from becoming cold.
Best Kid Lunches for School:
There are many best options for school kid’s lunch out there. But the lunch is successful only if it’s liked by the kid.
Below is the list of school kid’s lunch timetables prepared by me and my wife after a detailed discussion with our kids.
# Lunch Option 1
- Wheat Bread Slice
- Chopped onions
- Tomato Slice
#Lunch Option 2
- Chopped Apples
- Chopped Pineapple
#Lunch Option 3
- Fried Cauliflower Salad
- Fried Onions
- Fried mushroom
How To Make Healthy Lunch For School Kids?
Health is not the only aspect we consider while we make food for kids. Taste is also an aspect we seriously consider for school kids lunch.
Healthy lunch can be made for kids by adding half the quantity of food with vegetables. Also, an egg should be mandatorily included in the lunch because the egg yolk contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals.
Growing kids require lots of nutrients during their growth phase and hence the lunch should include lots of fiber and vitamins. Meat is nutrition-rich and boiled meat should be a part of their lunch to satisfy their huge nutrition demands.
If you are not a meat-eater, other protein-rich foods such as soybeans, mushrooms, and legumes can be used for lunch. Also, the kids would equally love them.
When To Prepare Lunch For School Kids?
7 to 8 am in the morning is the best time to prepare lunch.
Most working professionals tend to prepare lunch very early morning before doing their other morning chores. This is not ideal because the food becomes cold too soon and has higher chances of food going stale.
Also when we prepare lunch very early in the morning, we might be feeling very sleepy and there are chances of making errors such as putting too much salt or forgetting to add salt. Hence it is best to prepare lunch for kids after we have become fresh after bathing and other morning activities.
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