In the second Rock the Lunchbox Survey of more than 2,000 kids and parents, 72 percent of kids say it’s “cool” to have healthy food in their lunchboxes2. The survey also showed that snack swapping is common - 64 percent of kids say they regularly trade items from their lunch with friends. To help parents find “better for you” ideas that kids are excited to eat, five leading natural and organic brands have created Rock the Lunchbox – an online library with nearly 300 lunchbox ideas and tips from parents and bloggers.
The survey, conducted by Annie’s®, Applegate, HONEST® Kids, Organic Valley® and Rudi’s Organic Bakery® also found that:
- “Homemade Gets High Fives”: 61 percent of kids prefer bringing lunch from home versus buying lunch at school
- “It’s a Labor of Love”: 51 percent of kids say it’s important that their parent makes them lunch to bring to school
- “Snack Swapping Popular”: 64 percent of kids trade items from their lunch with friends. And, snacks are the most coveted item in kids’ packed lunches; 54 percent say they trade their snack for a different snack.
- “What’s New?”: 53 percent of kids say the items in their lunch are the same every day
- “Daily Dilemmas”: 51 percent of parents say they struggle with variety and coming up with new ideas to make lunch healthy and delicious
- “Parents Prefer to Pack”: 83 percent of parents say that it’s important to prepare their children’s lunch for school; 95 percent say it’s important to provide healthy options in their children’s lunches
“As a mom of two, I know parents want kids to eat a healthy and delicious lunch, but coming up with new and appealing ideas is a continuous struggle,” says Amelia Winslow, a nutritionist, food expert, and blogger. “Rock the Lunchbox offers so many creative inspirations and resources for packing a better lunch that parents will feel good about and kids will actually eat.”
Rock the Lunchbox is in its second year of helping parents give kids what they want at lunchtime - more balanced, delicious options and variety. The website offers ideas for kids of all ages and dietary preferences, including:
- Gluten free, nut free and vegetarian choices
- Informative, short video clips by parents that explain how to keep menus creative, packing time short, and involve the kids
- Ideas for staying connected to children during the day via notes and lunchbox messages
- Tips for packing a healthy lunch for picky eaters or kids with allergies
- Time-saving tips to turn simple into healthy and delicious
Also, check out these fantastic tips from Amelia Winslow on how to create the perfect lunchbox.
1. Think outside the sandwich: When I hear the phrase “packed lunch” I immediately think of a sandwich in a brown bag. But sandwiches get old fast, and plenty of other foods offer great nutritional value and equal convenience. Instead of focusing your child’s lunch around a sandwich, pack a yogurt parfait, mini frittata, pasta salad, or microwavable cup of mac & cheese. If your child does like sandwiches best, change up the format occasionally by making a wrap, burrito, stuffed roll or panini.
2. Offer your child’s favorite foods in different formats: Here is essentially the same lunch - a peanut butter sandwich with a fruit, vegetable, protein, and packaged treat - served in three very different ways. Simply varying the presentation of the “main dish” and offering a variety of fruits & veggies throughout the week can keep your child excited about healthy eating
3. Invest in a Bento box: Kids (and adults!) of all ages love and appreciate finger foods, and a Bento box - or collection of small containers - allows you to pack a variety of healthy items that together equal a balanced meal. Keep all the food groups in mind when assembling your little nibbles - protein, grains, vegetables, fruits and healthy fat. A little of each of these nutrients will help keep your child satisfied throughout the day
4. Include your child in some aspect of food prep: When you invite the kids to help you make a shopping list, select fruits & veggies at the grocery store, or wash and prepare lunch foods on the weekends, they’ll feel more invested in the healthy food you serve them. Even a monthly trip to the farmer’s market to pick out fresh produce and a few specialty items can get your kids excited about what might appear in their packed lunch.
5. Make lunches colorful: Appeal to your child’s senses by offering a variety of colors, textures and tastes in her lunch. Serving different colors of fruits and vegetables is a great way to create visual appeal as well as maximum nutritional value. Aim to include in-season produce, so fruits and vegetables taste their best.
For more information, please visit www.rockthelunchbox.com, and follow the conversation on Twitter with #rockthelunchbox.
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