School is officially in session, and just as kids may stomp their feet in protest all the way to the bus stop, so, too, might moms and dads as they face another daunting year of keeping their little learners full and healthy. As you think of the new school year and wonder how you’ll be able to do it all, look to Food Network’s Back-to-School Headquarters to help you make the grade. Each week in September FN Dish will share can-do weeknight meals, easy lunchbox picks, after-school snack strategies and more from our best collection of recipes and tips.
Earlier this week, Food Network hosted a Facebook chat with our very own Food Network Kitchens on all things back-to-school. Though questions ranged from how to fix healthy lunches to how to get out of a PB&J rut, more than a few of you asked for lunchbox picks for your decidedly picky eaters. So this week’s classroom lesson is all about feeding your fussiest eaters lunches that they’ll gobble up in no time.
The key to packing for picking eaters is variety. No kid — or grownup — wants to open his or her brown paper bag to find yet another turkey and cheese sandwich, cut in the same four squares, nestled next to another apple and juice box. If sandwiches are just about the only thing your little one will eat, try giving them made-over versions of their favorites in order to keep lunch interesting. Food Network Magazine’s Ham Pinwheels (pictured above) are five-minute sandwiches that feature deli ham and cream cheese rolled into a soft tortilla. Cut into easy-to-eat pinwheels, these wraps may offer the simple change in presentation that your child needs to be excited about new foods.
If you’ve found that your picky eater is more likely to eat his or her dinner if they’ve helped to prepare it, let that idea translate to their afternoon meal as well. Embrace DIY school lunches by packing one hearty protein and a few smaller add-ons that your child can combine quickly. Food Network Kitchens’ Pulled Pork Tostadas (pictured right), for example, lend themselves well to effortless assembly by little hands and fingers. The idea is to pack a few corn tortillas, a bit of pulled pork — what’s left over from last night’s dinner is A-OK — and small, separate containers of lettuce, cheese, sour cream and veggies, so that come lunchtime, your child can build their own tostadas with a mix of their preferred toppings.