Friday, August 30, 2013

Top 8 Weelicious Lunch Tips

1. It’s all about balance! When you’re packing lunch, always make sure to pack fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein in every meal.

2. Fill it Up: Always keep your favorite shelf and refrigerator staples on hand. I keep a list on the fridge to remind me of everyone’s favorites:

- Nut butters (almond, peanut and sunflower butter are great choices)
-Cream Cheese
-Cheddar, mozzarella or your favorite cheese (sticks, bricks, shredded or slices)
-Pesto (goes great with pasta, rice, quinoa, as a sandwich spread or to make an Egg Pesto Melt)
-Pasta (a variety of shapes like ziti, macaroni, rotini or more)
-Bananas (to eat on their own, sliced and added with honey and nut butter on a sandwich or added to Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies)
-Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers or any of your child's favorite veggies
-Dehydrated, frozen, or dried fruit
-Plain Yogurt (to mix with honey, maple syrup, mashed bananas or granola)
-Bread (bagels, english muffins, tortillas or your favorite loaf bread)

3.  Re-Use! Bento style containers are a great way for kids to see all of their choices of food without having to open a ton of  plastic bags. Laptop Lunches colorful reusable bento lunchboxes can be stacked and used on their own or in their outer container bento box and placed into a cute, insulated bento bag. We’ve had ours for years and they’re still good as new.

4.  Double and Freeze: When I make a recipe, I try to double it and freeze it, so that I always have it on hand for lunches. I cook all of our favorite foods and treats like cookies, bars, pancakes, doughnuts, waffles and more in freezer safe containers so all I need to do is defrost one or two homemade foods.

5.  Eye Appeal: Cutting foods into fun shapes and sizes can make all the difference in whether your child will eat them. Try using a melon baller for watermelon or cutting cucumbers into sticks or coins with fun shape cutters. 

6.  Leftovers! There’s no reason you can’t turn last night’s dinner into today’s lunch. Turn chicken fajitas into a quesadilla, chicken in a crock pot into slices of chicken with a dipping sauce, or last night’s brown rice into a beans and rice burrito.

7.  Variety is the spice of life: Switching things up day to day in a lunch box can keep kids nutritionally balanced while excited at the same time.

8.  Treat for your sweet: Putting a little something sweet can put a big smile on your little one’s face. Whether it is a cookie or even a little note, that last addition can go a long way.

Catherine McCord is a mother of two, as well as the author and creator of the blog Weelicious, where she  shares her recipes and culinary inspirations for families and wee ones. She recently wrote her second cookbook, "Weelicious Lunches" which is available on the Laptop Lunches website, here

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