Does your child look forward to their lunch? Do you look forward to making it? Are you suffering from the mid-term lunchbox bleahs? Here’s a neat idea to help you both! Melissa Taylor has created DIY Lunchbox: Flip, Pick and Pack and we’ve been trying it out (it’s not just for “at school” lunches!). We received a complimentary copy in exchange for letting you know our honest opinions.
Do you struggle to make lunches healthy and yet have items your child will eat? Children are more likely to eat what they have in their packed lunch if they feel they are a part of it. They won’t eat tuna fish when they’re hoping for a cheese bagel. Making their own lunch will produce less waste, decrease your food bill, and have a healthy child as well so they will be satisfied and concentrate during those sluggish afternoon classes. DIY Lunchbox is a fabulous resource for parents and children alike. There are two parts in this set. The first part is a full-size booklet that takes you through training your kids to try new foods and enjoy them, learning to mix and match the food groups, a quick walk through various lunchboxes and accessories, and nutrition fun for kids. Melissa offers her experience advice on how to ease your children into trying new foods and becoming more adventurous eaters. In the second chapter she gives a refresher on the eat well plate. The pages following are broken down into the food groups and there are several examples of foods that fall into each group. Some are just a basic food, and others are food combinations.
Chapter three briefly outlines many of the lunch box types and accessories that are available. Chapter four I found the most helpful for parents. It is broken down into age groups from toddler to ten-year-olds. For each age group Melissa suggests several books to learn about healthy eating. She also lists several learning activities your children can do that are appropriate for that age. These range from visiting a pumpkin patch, shopping at a farmer’s market, growing their own vegetables. and trying food science experiments. Most of these suggestions are easily accessible for most people. Next in each age group are some cooking suggestions, these start of with learning to use cookie cutters and increase in complexity to making their own meals or taking a cooking class with you. The second part to this DIY Lunchbox package is a half-size booklet that you can print, hole-punch and put a ring or brad clip through it. There are even some handy little tabs you can glue to help you quickly find each food group. This is a handy little booklet that your child can use in the kitchen to prepare their own lunch. You can see Tristan looking through his booklet in the photo above. As your child learns about the food groups and making healthy choices they will learn to pack a lunch they will enjoy. There are several suggestions for each food group included. Some may be usual choices for you. Others may be new and worth a try to mix things up! There are also blank sheets included so your child can draw or write their own ideas in this booklet as well, truly making it their own little lunch menu.
Tristan is only 5 and not yet able to make his own lunches, though I’m sure he would give it a try if he could reach the fridge! To start him off using this resource, we’ve started to work our way backwards and he is comparing our lunches to the food groups in the menu to ensure we have them all covered. He’s been enjoying using his own booklet that it disappeared for a while and I found it in his play kitchen, carefully placed where he could reference it while making ‘meals’ for his family! Here’s a picture of one of our lunches that we made using the DIY Lunchbox. Most weekdays we usually have homemade soup, so having anything else is a real treat for the kids!
We’ve done it up as both a bento-style lunch and on a plate so you can see it works whether you’re at school or at home. This isn’t just for kids. We made Daddy this bento after we’d had lunch and washed the dishes. He had the same meal the next day and really enjoyed it!
What did we have? Whole wheat pita bread (grain), cucumbers and tomatoes (veg), cheese (dairy), and homemade falafels (Protein). All the food groups were covered. Don’t forget to include your beverage! They had some milk to add a little more dairy to their day. This is a good way to help give your child more choice as well as responsibility. It also takes some of the pressure off of you. Be sure to have the kids help tidy up as that’s all a part of it too!
Tristan is now interested in learning what ingredients are in the foods he enjoys. He’s familiar with these when we make meals from scratch, but he’s also asking what is in the foods we purchase. This is the perfect time to start reading labels with him and discussing healthy ingredients as well as those bad things such as preservatives, sugars, colourings, etc. This is a handy little kit that has helped us eat more varied lunches and not get tired of the same old thing. Whether you use it for school, work, or home lunches, you’ll have over 65,000 possible lunch combinations! To order your copy for download, click here for my affiliate link or on the logo just below this sentence.
Melissa Taylor, MA, is an education and Pinterest expert as well as a mother of two, teacher, and writer. Melissa loves to make learning fun, engaging and meaningful for kids by providing the best information and resources for parents as she does in her recent book, Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader. She was a four-time consecutive winner of Outstanding Teacher in Douglas County, Colorado. Melissa created and writes the highly popular and award-winning learning blog Imagination Soup .