For any of us who have ever had to feed a child we know what a pain in the rear that can be. A lot of children are picky eaters and it can be difficult to cater to what they like and don’t, and also get them the nutrition the need. One of the biggest challenges we face is packing those lunch boxes for school.
There are many rules around what you are allowed to send to school now days due to allergy concerns. The biggest thing to look out for is peanut and seafood allergies. People with those allergies generally can be triggered by the smell so those need to be avoided for sure.
So what do we put in there?
How about a ham and cheese sandwich. Sounds boring right. Not the way I make them. A ham and cheese is only boring if you make it that way. Try putting using smoked, maple, or honey ham. Also, try add in a slice of prosciutto, it’ll add an intense depth of flavor. As for the cheese, don’t just use a kraft singles cheese slice. While the commercials may say that your kids will love you for them, I didn’t like them as a kid so I don’t know who’s doing their research. Try using a swiss or provolone, or any cheese that will add a new flavor to the sandwich. This way your kid won’t be trying to trade it away.
Now for the icing on the cake: Martha’s Apple Butter. Apple butter is much healthier then putting regular butter on a sandwich and it tastes delicious.
If all of this still wasn’t enough to create the perfect ham and cheese for your little one (or for yourself, it’s just that good) try making it look pretty. Who doesn’t love a nice presentation. Buy some jumbo cookie cutters and cut out the sandwich into a fun shape. That way if your kid hates crust then the crust is gone and they’ll have more fun eating something that looks like a dinosaur.
So what do you put in the lunches with that totally awesome ham and cheese? Check out these ideas brought to you courtesy of my domestic hero, Martha Stewart:
Frozen Juice Box – A frozen juice box is delicious way to keep your childs lunch cool. And also a pure fruit juice is packed with vitamins your child needs and every kid loves juice.
Fruit Kabob – Instead of just giving them fruit in a tupperware container dress it up a little. Take a regular fruit skewer and add strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and marshmellows; or just use whatever your kids faves are. Let them take part in picking them out and try new fruits with them. Also it’s a great way to get kids involved with cooking with you.
Cereal Bracelets – For these you can use an unflavored dental floss or some clean thread. Get the kids to help you make these too. Get some Fruit Loops or Cheerios and string them onto the thread until it makes a bracelet. It’s a cute treat to add in the lunch box. Also since most cereals are being made in whole grains it’s not that bad for them either.
Pre-Peeled Orange – Most kids enjoy eating oranges but it can be hard for them to peel for themselves. To give them a head start slice off the tip of the top of the orange. Then score down the side of the orange in four places to create four equal segments. Then peel back the top of each segment a bit.
Crunch Caterpillar – A lot of kids have an aversion to anything green. But if it’s in the shape of a gross caterpillar we might have a shot. Peel a cucumber and then slice it into 1/2 inch slices. Then string the slices onto a plastic bendy straw. Then top it off with a cherry tomato as a plump head.
Hopefully at least some of these ideas make it easier to pack lunch for your child. The thing to remember are:
– have them experiment with tastes and textures at an early age
– let them get involved in the cooking process with you
– and sometimes when they say a food is gross and will make them puke, it just might