Kids can be picky when it comes to food. It’s helpful to provide healthy lunch ideas for kids at home. Kids can also be involved in the menu planning. These tips can help you teach kids about nutrition and how to make healthy lunch choices.
Moms can creatively encourage their kids to enjoy healthy foods. We never force our kids to clean their plates. However, over time our kids tastes have developed for fresh fruit, veggies with ranch, meats and grains. I can help provide nutritious meals by purchasing whole grain crackers, healthy cheese and Greek yogurt. Additionally, I regularly mix up smoothies that contain spinach and carrots. I also give the kids a Probiotics supplement to help their little digestive systems. Here are some of my kids’ favorite healthy lunch ideas!
Yummy Food Shapes
Healthy lunch ideas for kids at home can include sandwich shapes, fruit salad and veggies with ranch. My kids love food shapes! Any sandwich can be cut into a shape with a cookie cutter. My girls also love pancakes shaped like teddy bears and snakes.
Fruit is easy to slice up and turn into hearts and flowers. For example, these strawberry roses are super easy to make. Cut each strawberry vertically part of the way through and use a knife to fold back each petal. Strawberry roses are so cute and yummy! Lunch time doesn’t have to be a battle if you make food fun and encourage your kids to try new things.
Afternoon Tea Party
In the afternoons my girls love having a tea party. I set out our cute secondhand tea pot and offer the kids a variety of healthy snacks. Raisins, nuts, prunes, and whole grain crackers with a square of cheese are all great lunch ideas for kids at home. The occasional treat is fun too! Tea parties are perfect occasions to enjoy a cookie, a granola bar and small candies. Afternoon tea time is a great way to spend time with your kids and talk about what you did earlier in the day.
More Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids at Home
Smoothies instead of soda – Swap out carbonated soda for healthy smoothies that are infused with fresh berries, yogurt, citrus juice and banana. My kids love smoothies and I can mix up a different combination every time! For example, our favorite combination is a Berry Banana Smoothie. Blend together 1 banana, a scoop of frozen berries, a scoop of Greek yogurt, a handful of spinach leaves, a shot of orange juice and a scoop of ice. Fully blend until the ingredients are smooth and enjoy!
Crackers & cheese instead of chips – Swap out processed chips that are high in sodium with whole grain crackers and a square of cheddar cheese. Crackers and cheese cover two of the food groups; grains and dairy! You can even introduce new cheeses to your kids such as Gouda, goat cheese, feta cheese and Monterrey jack cheese.
Fresh fruit instead of candy – Some sweet treats are fun, but you can encourage your kids to love natural sugar by putting out a plate of fresh fruit. My kids can power through a plate of berries, bananas and apple slices. Kids will often eat anything that’s readily accessible especially if it’s pretty and colorful. Keep healthy snack alternatives on hand that are easy to grab and skip buying processed junk food.
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Homemade instead of processed – Whip up some healthy lunch ideas for kids at home such as fresh mac-n-cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread. Mac-n-cheese is very easy to make. Simply boil noodles and make a quick cheese sauce with 1/2 tbsp. butter, 1/2 cup whipping cream, and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Heat the sauce until fully combined and pour it over the cooked noodles. Yum! Your kids may never ask for boxed mac-n-cheese again!
Easily make fresh burritos by cooking a whole pan of ground beef lightly seasoned with taco seasoning. Keep it in the refrigerator to quickly toss a spoonful of cooked ground beef into a tortilla for healthy lunch ideas for kids at home. Microwave burritos often contain sodium and preservatives. Homemade burritos are so easy to make it’s a no brainer! You can also customize homemade burritos with chopped green pepper, onion, sour cream and a spoonful of salsa. Enjoy every food group for lunch; meats, grains, vegetables and dairy!
Easy Homemade Pizza
Homemade pizza is another great healthy lunch idea for kids at home! Kids can help make the pizza and learn skills in the kitchen. Offer your kids a variety of pizza toppings they can help put on the homemade pizza and show them how.
My kids eat their lunch on their colorful divided plates from Re-Play. I can use the three divided sections to give my kids a variety of lunch items. The kid-sized feeding utensils also match the plates! I usually serve my kids a sandwich or slice of homemade pizza, with sides such as fresh fruit and baked kettle chips. I often sneak veggies such as spinach, cucumbers or kale into a smoothie for my kids to enjoy!
My oldest daughter loved eating a wide variety of foods up until she was 2 years old. Then she decided to only like chicken nuggets and yogurt. With three kids now, I’ve had to set some standards for lunch time and come up with healthy lunch ideas for kids at home. I can’t create a different meal for each child or put up with squabbles over my kids’ appetites. I agree with parents who think kids should eat the food they are given and be thankful.
How do you inspire your kids to develop healthy eating habits? Our whole family benefits when we eat well and practice good nutrition.
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Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, stay-at-home mom to three kids and Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.