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Back to school season is here, in case you couldn’t tell by the buckets and bins full of pens, White-Out, Post-Its, markers, and other school supplies lining the aisles of your local superstores. If you’ve got kids, they probably aren’t looking forward to it— although you probably can’t wait to get them on the bus on that first day. If you’re trying to find ways to get your kids more enthused, packing them a delicious, well-balanced, and exciting lunch might be a perfect solution, and that’s where we want to help.

All parents know that lunchtime, despite its name, is a child’s socialization haven during the school day. With that being said, if you pack their lunches full of things that are difficult to eat or prepare on the spot, they might go without eating in favor of chatting with their friends. To make it easier on you AND on them, we have a few tips and recommendations on how you can get them to eat their lunch— all of it— without sacrificing their social hour.

  1. Get a lunchbox they’ll use and won’t be embarrassed by.  Your 6th grader probably won’t be too keen on using a lunchbox covered in cartoon characters from their favorite childhood tv show. Find something stylish and functional that won’t bring about any second-guessing on their part, or the lunchbox might not even make it to the cafeteria.
  2. Choose easy-to-eat foods.  An orange is a great, healthy choice; but unless it’s already peeled when they get to it, they might not want to spend the time peeling it. Opt instead for something they can pick at, like melon cubes, grapes, or cherry tomatoes. Bonus points for making them pretty— we hear kids love fruit kabobs.
  3. Keep it balanced.  Variety is exciting. What child do you know that wants to eat a lunchbox full of pretzel sticks and similar foods? While they’re delicious, be sure to incorporate all of the essential food groups: proteins, complex carbs, fruits, veggies, dairy (if they’re not lactose-intolerant), nuts and seeds.
  4. Keep it cold.  Even if your child isn’t a picky eater, once they get to their ham sammy and find that it’s room-temperature and has a funky smell to it, they won’t touch it. Remember that your child keeps their lunch in their locker throughout the course of the day and not in a refrigerator. Be sure to include ice packs, and opt for a well-insulated lunchbox.

Keep those tips in mind as you’re shopping for lunches this year— and here are a few of our suggestions for complete lunchbox meals that will keep your kid satisfied, happy, and eating. (Hey, who says these lunches are limited to just the kids?)

  1. Chicken salad wrap, tomato-mozzarella skewers, a handful of almonds, and some strawberries
  2. Turkey sandwich (cut into squares), roasted chickpeas, melon cubes, granola and yogurt
  3. Pizza strips, pineapple and grape skewers, a granola bar, carrots, and ranch dip

Wish your kids luck for us, and enjoy your newfound free time! (And if you’re looking for a way to spend that “you” time, our back-to-school promo might just be what you need).