Tot Talk Tuesday: Mom, What’s for (Lunch)Dinner?

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What mom really loves packing lunches for their kids?  What mom has a boundless supply of ideas for creative, yet healthy–and delicious–lunches?  If it’s you, then consider  yourself lucky.  If you’re like the rest of us, then read on. 

Why is it so challenging to get your kids to eat something that is actually good for them? It’s because we all live life in the fast lane.  And the drive-thru lane.  But the thing is, if we are really moving fast and effiencient, then we need more than the fast-food that clogs our veins and adds inches around our waists.   We need…healthy food! 

What’s a parent to do? 

a) Toss out all of the junk from our fridges and pantry and go to the organic market everyday

b) Stop eating food and sustain on seaweed and wheat grass

c) Slow down and find some healtier alternatives  you can add into your family menu

d) Offer fruits and veggies more often

If you answered c) and d) then you are on the right track.  You already know lots about making healthy choices, but still it’s hard.  Life gets busy and time slips away.  And, french fries really do taste good.  Here are some simple tips to streamline the process:

  • I made a quick “menu” on my computer, cut it out and slipped it into an acrylic photo frame (look for them at Michaels).  It hangs on my fridge, so I always have some ready ideas for what to fix.  It also gives my husband/parents/babysitter know some ideas on what to feed the kids. 
  • Lunches are challenging for any parent.  Especially when you are packing them every day of the week and for multiple children.   Get a good supply of yummy things like fresh (diced strawberries, apple slices with PB–just add a dash of lemon juice to keep them from “rusting”) and dried fruit (fruit twists, fruit leather, raisins, yogert/chocolate covered raisins, cranberries, cherries).  Add in a veggie–my girls like Snapeas (look for them at Trader Joes or Whole Foods, some produce sections of large grocers), or petite baby carrots and a side of ranch dip (condiment aisle)  and something with protein (cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled egg, peanut/almond butter, or deli meat). 
  • If you purchase a thermos for your kiddo to take along to school, it opens a whole new world of possiblities…Chicken and Stars soup, mac ‘n cheese, a favorite pasta dish, even yummy home-cooked left overs. 
  • Get creative with your sandwich base.  Look beyond the loaf…consider making your “main course” with Triscuits, Ritz, graham crackers, mini bagels, whole grain/low carb tortillas, or English muffins.  
  • Send breakfast for lunch…a healthy snack-sized box of cereal and cold milk, a banana, and juice makes a great mid-day meal.   Remember to toss in a spoon.  Buy plastsic ones in the baby section so you can re-use them.

Here’s a book that you may want to look into for some inspiration:

“Mom, What’s for Dinner,” by Patty Minta, R.D., LDN

“Mom, What’s For Dinner?” by Patricia Minta (Paperback – 2005)
We also like this one around our house…it’s all about eating healthy with a kid-friendly approach, “The Gulps.” 
Product Detailsillustrated by Marc Brown (of the “Author” series) and written by Rosemary Wells. 

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