The more colors of vegetables and fruit in the lunchbox, the greater the variety of nutrients you’re giving your children. Include different fruits and veggies each day to ensure you cover the whole rainbow before the week is out.
Here are our tips for making it fun for all the children in your life (and maybe even the grown-ups, too!) to eat more servings of nutritious produce at lunchtime:
Serve them with dips
Think up new ways to serve lunchbox veggies with dips. For example, pack cooked broccoli with lemon juice and parmesan for dipping. Eat carrots and celery sticks dipped in avocado pureed with fresh lime and a sprinkle of salt. Double down on veggies with a creamy sweet potato dip paired with slices of peppers. Blend a leftover, roasted sweet potato with cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Or make things easy with single-serve packaged guacamole, hummus, or ranch dressing!
Bake them into chips
Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beets, kale … many fruits and veggies can be sliced thin and baked into chips with a coating of oil, plus a sprinkle of salt and other spices. Or make them cheesy! Try baking breaded zucchini chips with panko breadcrumbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Turn them into fun shapes
Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes out of your fruits and veggies. Cucumbers cut into stars, peppers cut into flowers, and melon shaped into small balls make eating the rainbow hard to resist.
Spread something creamy on top
Pair fruits and veggies with something creamy and it becomes a tempting treat. Try apples with peanut butter or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins for traditional ants on a log. Use almond or cashew butter for different nutrients and flavors, or sunflower seed spread for a nut-free version. For a treat every once in a while, spread pineapple chunks or apple slices with chocolate hazelnut spread!
Play with the rainbow of colors every week
Create a game to make sure your kids eat the full range of flavors, colors and nutrients. Serve different colors every day, from sliced red peppers to orange wedges to half-sized corn on the cob (with sea salt). Mix them up into a salad some days to hit more colors at one time. If it’s tough to get younger kids to eat all the fruit and veggies in their lunchboxes, use a rainbow coloring page for them to fill in the latest stripes each day after school!