Are you sick of hearing "Mom, peanut butter and jelly again?" from your children? If so, you may be in need of a lunch box makeover.
Mealtime expert Jodie Fitz has mastered the art of switching up what is inside your child's lunch box to keep them motivated to eat healthy.
When it comes to the staple of most lunch boxes, the sandwich, Jodie shares a few great alternatives to switch things up. First -- a mini bagel with mascarpone cheese and fresh strawberries. Jodie says she likes to mix a little bit of honey and cinnamon in her mascarpone cheese to sweeten it up, then she spreads it on a mini bagel of her child's choosing and tops it off with fresh strawberries to eliminate sugary jams or jellies. This is also a great option for children that have peanut allergies and cannot eat peanut butter or other nut-based spreads.
Another healthy option is a wrap, but Jodie put a new spin on a typical lunchtime wrap.
"Wanting to use more fresh fruit, my kids love apples and peanut butter together so we put it into a wrap," says Jodie. "Slice up apples, mix a little honey and cinnamon in peanut butter, then combine it all in a wrap. It has a nice crunch too, so it has a nice texture as well."
If your child is a more hands-on kind of kid, try a build-your-own pizza.
"Add a little bit of [tomato] sauce, use part-skim mozzarella [cheese] pre-sliced," says Jodie. "This is a 100 calorie whole grain bagel, but a lot of times I will use the rounds. Just bake them a little to make them pre-toasted so they have a little bit of a crunch. [Your child] builds it, give them a plastic spoon and voilà."
When it comes to snacks and keeping things healthy, you want to add a fruit or vegetable to your child's lunch box instead of packing processed foods like chips.
Jodie has a great trick to combat the browning of apple slices.
"The lemon juice just didn't work for us nor did the water so we decided to do cinnamon," says Jodie. "I love apples and cinnamon so we just [add the cinnamon to apple slices in a bag], shake it all up. [Your child] doesn't know [the apples] are brown and they taste delicious."
If you would like, you can even send along a delicious protein packed dip. Just mix a little caramel or peanut butter into Greek vanilla yogurt.
Another great timesaving tip is using leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. Jodie does this with corn salsa which is a great lunch box idea to incorporate vegetables.
By combining fresh corn, black beans, red pepper, a little onion and a mix of Italian dressing and white vinegar, you can give your child a healthy snack in no time.
When it comes to making sure your child is staying properly hydrated, Jodie says to stay away from sodas and sugary juices. Instead, try water flavored with various fruit slices such as lemons, limes, strawberries, raspberries, even blueberries.
"Every household is different, every mom is different, every kid is different," says Jodie. "Even when you are a mom and have three kids, they have three different personalities, three different needs, they all have three different taste buds."
By working in some of these ideas, your child is sure to have a delicious and nutritious lunch box makeover.