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Kids love assembling their own meals, so let them

Kids love the chance to assemble their own lunches.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Kids love the chance to assemble their own lunches.

Not the night before, mind you. They're quite happy to leave the packing of lunch to you. We're talking about when they eat it. Present them with a variety of agreeable ingredients, and the little ones have a blast assembling their own sandwiches, pizzas, fajitas and other kid-friendly creations.

It's part of the reason those boxed lunches available at the grocer are so popular. But there's no reason you need to pay a premium for those, or be a slave to their questionable quality.

When you assemble your own, you can use healthier ingredients you and your kids love. You also can include a wider variety of ingredients than the typical box includes, and have it assembled in little time.

The first step is to get a lunch box with multiple small compartments. Bento-style lunch boxes are popular and widely available online. But a collection of small plastic containers works just as well.

Then have your kids help choose what goes together and what goes in their boxes. And take the whole thing a little less seriously. Be creative with the combinations; it's supposed to be fun. We've started you off with some ideas for combinations, but let your imaginations go.





— Small corn or flour tortillas

— Green and red bell pepper slices

— Shredded cheese

— Sliced chicken breast

— Guacamole

— Salsa



— Yogurt or cottage cheese

— Toasted walnuts or sliced almonds

— Sunflower or pumpkin seeds

— Granola or dry cereal

— Sliced peaches or nectarines

— Sliced fresh berries



— Pretzels

— Crunchy breadsticks or cracker sticks

— Hummus

— Assorted veggies cut into sticks

— Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip)

— Salad dressing

— Jam



— Graham crackers

— Whole-wheat saltines

— Peanut butter and jelly

— Ham, cheddar and apple slices

— Cream cheese, cucumber and deli turkey



— Crackers

— Small pitas or flatbread (such as lavash or naan)

— Pizza sauce or salsa

— Shredded mozzarella

— Sliced pepperoni

— Cherry tomatoes, olives, or chopped peppers