Lakewood Elementary School and Sanderlin IB Primary Years Program in St. Petersburg, FL are two schools that have taken a progressive approach to teaching children about good nutrition and local sustainable food economy through collaboration with Eckerd College in the Edible Peace Patch. If your school hasn’t developed a garden project, or offer unprocessed healthy lunches there is always the option of a brown bag lunch. This may seem an antiquated practice, but as with most antiquated practices it’s the best for us.
There are many resources and recipe ideas floating around to keep brown bag lunches interesting. Remember when preparing lunch, kids don’t have much time to eat and they have plenty of distractions. Make food fun so they will want to eat healthy especially if their peers are eating junk foods. Try using small foods for picking such as apple slices with cheese. Also, try dips such as hummus, bean dip, fruit dip, etc. to have with the small items for dipping. Experiment with different breads for variety such as pita bread, mini bagels, tortillas, and biscuits. Many kids are enticed by prepackaged lunches, but those are also very processed, and can be even more expensive than the school lunches. Use those meals to get ideas without actually using the processed foods. You can also buy lunch containers that mimic the packaging. Pack separate ingredients so kids can assemble their own lunch. This is fun and also prevents foods from becoming mushy.
Some other very simple kid favorite lunches include P.Banana rolls, pig in a blanket, and weenie wraps.
P.Banana rolls consist of peanut butter, a banana, and a tortilla wrap. Tumaro’s Gourmet Tortillas are a good choice for pure, healthy, and tasty tortillas. Spread peanut butter on the tortilla, place a whole banana in the wrap, and then roll it up around the banana.
A healthier version of pigs in a blanket is to make simple homemade biscuit dough, and wrap around a piece of organic or kosher hot dog, then bake. This takes a little more time, but a large batch can be made at once and can last most of the school week.
Finally, the weenie wrap involves those organic or kosher hot dogs. Just place the hot dog in the wrap, and roll it up. Pack any preferred condiment to accompany.
Get creative; all kids have different tastes, so find what is fun and delicious for your child. Some will want a lot of variety; some will want the same thing day after day. Getting the kids into the kitchen may produce new options and will teach them how to make good healthy choices.