Packing your own home made lunches and snacks to get you and your family through the workday is the sensible thing to do. Apart from cost-savings, you can ensure that you and your family get good nutrition, stay hydrated, and have that special something from home for a feel-good break. Unfortunately, lunchboxes soon get a little formulaic – unless you add something new to the mix every now and then. Try these ideas to add zing to that home-packed lunch box.

1. Decorate the Lunch Gear

Having lunch boxes and drinks bottles that are personalized may seem like a small thing, but it’s the little things that matter. Get your kids (or yourself) bragging rights with lunch gear that makes a statement. It’s not hard to do. A few colorful stickers can make all the difference. Stickers not lasting on hot and cold drinks bottles? No problem! Hydro flask stickers are made to take the punch and add a fun element to those regular sips of water we should all be taking.

2. Go Beyond the Sandwich

Sandwiches are a lunchbox standby, but knowing you’ll get one every day gets boring. Escape the same old drag by changing things up. Crackers, pita breads, and wraps help to vary the soggy sandwich routine making meal beaks way more interesting. 

Getting creative with lunchbox menus makes those meal and snack breaks more pleasurable, and if your kids are picky eaters, they’re more likely to tuck in and enjoy their lunch. Finding mouldy lunch remains in your kids’ school bags? Opening your own lunch box without enthusiasm? It’s time to switch up those menus.

Some sandwich basics are still winners – as long as you don’t serve them up every day. Who doesn’t like a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich from time to time? Keep the sandwiches you pack interesting by using different types of bread, varying sandwich fillings, and avoid sogginess by packing wet ingredients like tomato separately. 

3. Remember That Salad Doesn’t Have to Be”Rabbit Food”

While salads are a great lunchbox standby, do keep switching recipes. Some salads are a side, while others will be the main course. A tasty pasta salad, for example, will offer a filling meal on its own and won’t necessarily require a lot of extra effort. Cook up a little extra pasta when preparing a supper dish, and keep some aside to be mixed up with other ingredients for a pasta salad lunch. 

The big secret is in the dressing, so feel free to include leftover cooked veg with a few freshly diced raw veg additions to keep things looking fresh and tasty. 

Chicken salad is also ideal for lunchboxes. After all, the protein and fresh salad veg ingredients are there, and all you need is something starchy and a bit of fruit for a well-rounded meal. Once again, you can save effort by cooking a little extra at suppertime and saving some of the meat for lunchbox salads. 

4. Pack Healthy and Delicious Snacks

A little snacking between meals can be a big temptation to buy unhealthy treats that are both costly and packed with sugar and artificial additives. Opening one’s lunchbox to find a few little between-meals snacks can help to promote healthy eating. Depending on what your family likes, your snacks could include things like small packets of nuts, sunflower seeds, veggie chips or snack bars that you can make at home, sweet carrot-sticks, dried fruit, and more.

Need a change? Just mix it up. Making your own trail mix for easy nibbling is the work of a few minutes. Choose your favorite trail mix ingredients and make one that’s way better than anything you could buy in a store.

5. Something Sweet – Without Too Much Sugar

Our addiction to sugar has been in the news a lot lately – but we do love our sweet treats. As a weekly project, look around for low-sugar sweet treat recipes that store well or can be frozen. 

For sweetness with no to low sugar, use ingredients like honey, raisins, dates, and bananas. There are  some awesome muffin recipes that will fit the bill, and you can even make healthy snack bars or sugar-free cookies at home. Sweet doesn’t have to be sugary. All the same, cheat now and then with something decadent like a slice of chocolate cake – just for fun.

On the subject of chocolate, if you’re hoping to brighten someone’s day with a chocolate lunchbox surprise, dark chocolate is said to be pretty healthy – and carob bean bars are super-yummy.

6. Make Eating Fruit Fun

We should all be eating a rainbow of fruit every day – but most of us don’t. Although an apple a day is nice, it can soon get terribly mundane. Make your lunchboxes more interesting with fruit salads or fun fruit ideas and recipes. Simply making skewers with a variety of fruits strung together makes eating fruit more adventurous and fun – or try flavoring plain yoghurt with a variety of fresh fruit.

Fresh fruit smoothies help you to pack in the nutrition while offering your family a delicious drink that will make them the envy of work and schoolmates. Once again, choose an attractive container for that extra motivation – especially when you’re catering for kids.

Plan for Creativity

If you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to achieve creativity during the morning rush, your doubts are well-founded. Fun lunch boxes take a little forethought and many of the ingredients can be prepared in advance. It does take planning, but the time you spend on doing so – and the results you achieve – will be appreciated by the whole family.

Plan your lunch box menus using quick, easy components, cook a little extra for supper and then jazz it up for a new twist, and try making a few goodies over weekends for quick packing on busy weekday mornings. The benefits? Apart from having the pleasure of anticipating tasty and fun lunches, you can be sure that your family is getting good nutrition during the day. The basics? A starch, some fruit, some veg, a protein item, and a sweet treat serves as the framework for your daily planning.