We asked our readers for their favorite tricks for making bag lunches exciting.  Here’s some of their ideas along with some more that we found.

• Use your imagination.  Anything out-of-the-ordinary, will make your child feel special.  It doesn’t always have to be food.  A note or special memento says, “I love you.”

• You can have a variety of cookies on hand if you freeze half of each batch.  Select a cookie for your child’s lunch and put it in the lunch while still frozen.  The cold cookie, along with a frozen drink, will help keep the lunch cool.  The cookie will be thawed by lunchtime.

• Kid’s love variety. Stock up on lunch items and put more but smaller servings in the lunch.  If you put a large muffin–for example–in the lunch, part of it is likely to be thrown away.  Instead, try a mini-muffin.

• Kid’s also like crunch.  Instead of a cheese or meat sandwich, try cheese or meat on crackers.  Be sure to keep perishables cold.

• Try lunch items with some kind of dip.  Possibilities include pretzel or cracker sticks with peanut butter, bread sticks with cheese spread, tortilla chips with salsa, or carrots and celery with ranch dressing.

• Consider dried fruit.  A little will go a long ways.  Divided into small packages, dried fruit is not expensive.

• Consider putting some moist towelettes in a zip-lock bag for cleanup.

• Food safety must be the first consideration in packing a lunch.  Consider one of the new thermal lunch bags.  Some of these are very effective at keeping a lunch cold with a frozen drink or small “blue ice” cooling unit.

• One of our readers suggested packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches rolled up like a jelly roll.  Just cut the crusts off , flatten the bread with a rolling pin and spread your filling.  Place cut side down in a Ziploc bag.  She reported that her boys loved them.

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