I think every parent has hopes that their child will be the most perfect eater in the world. Visions of your child scarfing down Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, okra, beets, prunes and every superfood of the moment in “just right portions” are such pretty pictures to paint in our heads! Right? Maybe washed back with some quinoa and cous cous? The reality is most kids are picky eaters. There I said it, but it is not exactly a revelation! We all know this! Yeah, maybe there are a few perfect eaters out there but not my kids! My kids however, do eat a fair variety of food but only because I have worked hard at it! I will keep working hard at it. If I give up, I never win! This one is worth winning!
I care not that my children may never actually eat a Brussels sprout (although it would be nice) but I do care that they eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in an array of natural healthy color! This assures me that they in turn will be healthy! This also promotes a life long habit to eat right! So I will keep on playing the game until I do win! Speaking of games, this post is part of a healthy lunch campaign brought to you by Crunch a Color, makers of award winning nutrition games for children. Teach your kids to eat to win!
Lunch #1 (pictured above) is served in an Easylunchboxes container.
Sneak it in! – Foods like the veggie flax seed tortilla chips (shown lower right compartment) purchasable at Trader Joe’s are great ways to get in hidden veggies for my son Brendan. These chips contain ground corn, brown flaxseed, tomato powder, carrot powder, spinach powder and beet powder (to name a few ingredients) all packaged in a crispy, tasty, colorful chip! All natural fruit leathers (shown cut into stars on top of the sandwiches) are another great kid friendly source of hidden produce. Fresh however is best so a fruit salad of Cara Cara oranges, blackberries and kiwi is an interesting, colorful and appealing choice. Sunshine “Chips” by Naturebox provide a great crunch with a dash of salt but are actually real veggies like sweet potato, squash, taro, carrots and green beens. Finally for a protein this lunch has peanut butter sandwiches served on whole grain white bread shaped like ice cream cones for fun! Sweet!
Lunch #2 (pictured above) is served in a Lunchbots Uno container.
Crunch a Color! – Games like Crunch a Color allow kids to score big points for eating healthy meals. Points are gained from the fun cards shown in the photo. Serving food in creative fun ways like these small duck sandwiches or these veggie flowers, made from cucumbers and carrots, also encourages kids to enjoy their healthy food. The sandwiches are filled with an almond butter for protein and the bread is whole grain. Smaller portions and lots of colorful variety make it seem less threatening and increases the odds that at least some new food will be tried (like the nibble tray theory). Mixing tomatoes with a familiar cheese stick will entice my son Trevor to give it a try and the flavors go well together (cheese and tomato like pizza). A couple of broccoli florettes are tucked in under the sandwiches which are laid on a bed of veggie crisps. This lunch would score big Crunch a Color points!
Lunch #3 (pictured above) is served in an Easylunchboxes container.
Set an Example! – To encourage healthy eating in my kids I set an example by eating healthy foods routinely myself. As a working mother of 4 I try to be creative to get healthy meals on the table quickly! I primarily use my dinner leftovers to pack lunch for myself and my husband. A precooked grilled chicken is served over stir fried bok choy and brown rice. Raw broccoli, Cara Cara oranges and kiwis add a great punch of flavor and dried granny smith apples and toasted cheddar sticks (both by Naturebox) add a filling touch.
Lunch #4 (pictured above) is served in a Nibble Tray by Zak Designs.
Play Gluten-Free too! – My youngest son Evan need not be excluded from the healthy lunch fun because he is gluten-free! No! I just have to be more creative to get him his healthy grains! In this lunch I have given him whole grain brown rice cake broken into pieces for the little man. He also has cheese, cucumbers, kiwi, cooked carrot and grilled chicken. By starting him on a varied healthy diet right out of the gate I am paving a road to a healthy eating future! Evan eats more variety at age 2 then any of my older children. If only I had known better back then!
Phew that was a long post but surely worth the effort when I see how healthy lunch packing pays off for my whole family. Go visit Crunch a Color and Easylunchboxes for more inspiring healthy lunch ideas!
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