As most parents know, feeding children or rather getting them to eat can be quite challenging. They can be bored, moody, fidgety or tired.
But we also know they like to help in the kitchen, help mom or dad and generally get messy.
Introducing your child to the kitchen and the art of making meals can be a rewarding experience as well as teaching very important life skills later on. It gives a bit of independence and creativity as well as the joy of knowing “I made that”.
Children love catchy names, colors and a great visual presentation. We know today’s parent does not have the time to design a swan from an apple or do radish roses but we can make everyday food seem like the extraordinary. Using cookie cutters on sandwiches, slicing fruit into fun shapes or creating layers that they can build.
One of the biggest challenges for school age children is creating lunches 5 days a week for over 9 months. What we see as a healthy, well balanced lunch could be seen as gross or boring to them. You want to make lunches that are creative, visually appealing and nourishing.
Sit with your children and plan out the week of lunches. Have them come up with the themes and names of that particular lunch. Eventually you will begin to see favorites and you can easily remember them by name. Ones that do not go over so well? Change it up. If you can get yourself to 10 different lunches, as a parent, that makes you a rock star.
Get the Kids to Help
You can have them help you with the shopping, prep and packing. The more invested they are the odds go up that they will give the meal an honest try.
Don’t send too much food as most of us do. Try an assortment of food in small amounts.
Make Lunches the Night Before
Mornings can be a bit, shall we say hectic? Make it a part of the evening to have the kids make their lunch. You can also put aside time on the weekends with the kids to make items like muffins, small snack buns, salads and soups. Getting your children into the kitchen with you will mean so much to them and teaches them valuable skills.
Make Lunch Fun
Send items they can use to build their own lunch! For example send the ingredients for the sandwich and let them build it. Or send crackers, cheese and deli meats. And have cool ways to package it. Also add a tiny touch from home. Maybe a sticky note, treat or sticker.
Lunch is Time to Hang With Their Friends
Do not pack things that have strong odors unless they decided to have it themselves.
Let them pick out the lunch bag or box for school. You want to be sure to have room for utensils, ice pack and thermos. Having a lunch bag that can accommodate these items and their lunch will open up the options or choices in the menu.
Other tips to keep lunch cool are a frozen juice box, freeze grapes, use a mini ice pack and have an insulated lunch bag.
Teaching your children to cook and be comfortable around the kitchen has tremendous value! They learn basic cooking skills, a sense of responsibility, a sense of independence and most importantly is pride. To see the results of their efforts and to enjoy the fact that they made that!
Harvest Bakery and Deli can help with some of the ideas to aid with lunch. Small buns for great sandwiches as well as deli meats to please the fussiest eater. And did we mention a free cookie for those 12 and under while mom or dad shop? Give us a call today to see how we can help! 204-489-1086