When we're younger, we want to eat foods that we know taste good -- stuff like french fries, chocolate, and whipped cream. Parents know that kids need to eat a lot more than that to support their growing bodies, but it can be a struggle to get them to eat those fruits and veggies. But you know what else can be difficult? Finding time in on a busy weekday morning to pack a well-balanced lunch for yourself and your kids!
Romper has partnered with Minute Maid to provide parents with easy ideas for lunches that kids will love, and remind each and every parent that even though they feel like they could be better parents, they're already great ones. And here's proof: when kids are asked what their parents do for them that mean the most, they reference the little things their moms and dads do for them every day, like singing them lullabies at night, leaving special messages in their desks or lunch boxes, making plans to do fun things on the weekends, and getting hugs and kisses. So parents: even if you feel like you aren't doing enough for your child, the truth is you're actually doing a fantastic job.
1. Caprese Tortellini Salad with Grape Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil, Apple Slices, and Caramel Corn
This Caprese-inspired pasta salad can be whipped up in under 10 minutes. We combined cheese tortellini (cooked, drained, and chilled — rinse with cold water after cooking to hack it quickly) with halved mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Fresh Vegetable Minestrone in a Thermos, a piece of French Baguette, and a Mini Brownie
Next-day homemade minestrone (or any other favorite soup) makes a great, easy lunch for little ones. Use a thermos that will keep the soup warm and pack some fresh baguette for dipping!
3. Kid-friendly Soba Noodle Salad, Crunchy Snap Peas, and Cubed Watermelon
Soba noodles cook in a flash, and their buckwheat base (gluten-free!) is way more nutrient-packed than standard pastas. We tossed these with fresh diced bell pepper, scallion, cilantro, soy sauce, fresh lime juice, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Feel free to adjust the add-ins based on your child’s preferences — and be sure to make enough for yourself to snack on later.
4. Turkey Club Pinwheels, Pickles, and a Chocolate Chip Cookie
Pinwheel sandwiches are undeniably cuter than regular sandwiches — and actually hold together much better in lunch boxes. For these, we started with a large tortilla spread with a thin layer of veggie cream cheese. On top of that, we piled sliced muenster, thin-sliced roast turkey, thinly sliced tomato, and whole lettuce leaves. Starting from one end, wrap tightly, all the way up. Slice sections about 1.5-inches thick. Ta-da!
5. Orzo and Veggie Salad, Mixed Cheese Cubes, and Sliced Kiwi
This orzo salad is totally customizable to your kid’s veggie preferences. We used diced cucumber, bell pepper, black olives, and fresh basil.
This post is sponsored by Minute Maid. Go to Minute Maid to learn more about the #doingood mission.
Photography: Lauren Perlstein
Food styling/recipes: Jenna Wexler