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5 Rules For Perfect Lunch Box Packing

Posted on August 7, 2014

If you want to pack a perfect lunch box, it’s got to work for both you and your kids. I’m talking quick, easy and delicious brought to a while new level. And like all parenting tasks, there’s no one right answer. That said, having 9 years of back-to-school under my belt, I’ve got a few tried and true rules when it comes to packing healthy lunches that make it into the kid’s bellies rather than the compost bin.

1. Make it quick. If it takes more than 15 minutes to pack, it’s out of the question. That said, heating foods like Chickasaurus Rex in the oven while eating breakfast and getting dressed is hardly going to impact your timing. Packed in a heatproof container with some baby carrots and ranch, those yummy nuggets will take less effort than preparing that ol’ pb&j.

2. Taste trumps everything. While it’s important to teach your kid to eat healthy foods, you’ve got to make food taste good in order for anything to make it past the mouth. For many kids that means avoiding spicy seasonings and gratuitous chopped herbs, but that doesn’t mean that everything should be bland and boring. Find sauces, salsas and seasoning combos that your kids enjoy and you can expand their horizons more than you might think.

3. Use what you have. Lunches are the perfect place to channel all of your leftovers. Whether you add that last 1/2 cup of cooked chopped chicken to some pasta, mix it with mayo and slap it between 2 whole wheat slices or simply store it in the perfect-sized airtight container with some celery sticks and crackers on the side, it’ll get eaten.

4. Always improvise. You know your kids best. If you see a recipe or an idea that you want to try but it includes a food that you know your child prefers not to eat, substitute with something he enjoys. Chances are, your instincts are correct and your kid will never know the difference.

5. Waste not. Pack in reusable containers, rather than sending the kids to school with a bunch of packaging. Sure, it’s convenient for you to send them off with another squeeze tube of crushed applesauce, but isn’t it just as simple to toss in a whole apple and call it a (healthy) day.