You may have packed the best food for your child, but if it gets too hot, too soggy or smashed, even the least picky child will probably pass it up. Make your time and money count. Follow the tips below and your lunch is more likely to be eaten and enjoyed.
- Tuck a pre-moistened wipe or antibacterial towelette into the lunchbox to help clean little hands before they touch the food.
- Use sealable bags for messier lunchtime foods so spills are avoided and cleanup is easy. If the food is packed in a container that could come open, add a plastic bag over it for double protection.
- Pack small crackers, trail mix or other loose snack food in small plastic containers with lids, or in paper cups covered with plastic bags or pieces of foil. The cups can be brought back home in the lunchbox or thrown away.
- Pack lettuce and tomatoes for a sandwich in a separate bag to be added to the sandwich at lunchtime. This keeps the bread from getting soggy.
- Keep perishable foods cold: Freeze a box of fruit juice the night before. In the morning, place the frozen juice box in the lunchbox. It will keep the lunch cool until lunchtime, and if you pack a spoon, your child can enjoy a fruit-juice slush for dessert.
- Wrap a paper towel around a whole piece of fruit, such as a pear or nectarine, to keep it from bruising. The paper towel doubles as a napkin.
- Pack a sandwich in a hard plastic container to keep it from getting smashed. (Remind your child to bring the container home in the lunchbox afterward.)
- Allow your child to make peanut butter crackers at lunchtime so they'll be fresh. Fill a very small plastic container with about 2 tbsp. peanut butter. Pack a handful of your child's favorite crackers and a plastic knife or spoon. At lunchtime, your child gets to play chef.