Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Crunch a Color Healthy Lunch Challenge

I was so excited when I found out I was chosen to participate in Crunch a Color's Healthy Lunch Challenge - Round 2!  I am deeply passionate about healthy eating, so this was right up my alley!

My children love healthy foods, but I am always looking for new ways to encourage healthy eating habits.  Not only are nutritious foods critical to their health now, but instilling these healthy habits in them will help assure that they will continue to choose nutritious options throughout their lives.

While it is never too early to start encouraging healthy eating, I am a firm believer that it is also never too late.  Whether your children are accustomed to eating a variety of nutritious foods or if this is a newer concept for them, the Crunch a Color game is a perfect companion to your efforts.

This exciting game can be used at any meal, but for this challenge I am going to focus on packing a healthy lunch.  Having a proper container is obviously the first step in packing a nutritious lunch.  While I have many different bento boxes, my Easy LunchBoxes have quickly become a favorite for lunchtime.  You can read my review of these amazing lunch boxes here.  

Once you have chosen your container, you need to decide what to pack.  This doesn't have to be a difficult process.  The Crunch a Color game provides a simple formula to assist you in this step:  THREE COLORS + ONE PROTEIN + ONE HEALTHY GRAIN = ONE NUTRITIOUS MEAL!  The cards give you tons of ideas for each color, and you certainly don't have to stop at three.  Be sure to include a combination of fruits and vegetables.  The goal of the game is to earn a minimum of 30 points using the formula above.  Each food has a different point value and the options are endless.  

I packed this lunch quickly using groceries I already had on hand (no special planning).  I began with a leftover whole wheat hot dog bun and filled it with nitrate free deli meat.  My lunch included lots of raw veggies, including corn, carrots, red bell peppers and broccoli.  I like to serve our veggies raw at lunch.  It is faster than cooking them, and they stay fresh until it's time to eat.  I also included fresh mango, blackberries and blueberries, as well as a few cubes of Monterrey Jack cheese.  I added a few food picks for fun.

Here is the tally of points for this lunch:
Whole Grain Bun - 5
Protein - 10
Corn & Carrots (I combined these into one serving) - 10
Red Bell Peppers - 10
Broccoli - 10
Mango - 5
Blueberries & Blackberries - 5

Adding 5 points for their water, brings us to a grand total of 60 POINTS = WIN!!

A bonus is that this lunch only took me about 7 minutes to make!  My kids devoured their lunches and were so excited to get their point cards.  They even gobbled up the raw broccoli (the one thing they usually struggle to finish) without a word!  

Our family is having our own challenge using the Crunch a Color game.  Using the included reward chart, we have a special trip planned if the kids get at least 30 points each day for 4 weeks!

10 Tips for getting your children to eat a variety of foods:
1. Allow them to do the shopping!  Kids tend to eat what they pick out.
2. Keep trying - even if they don't eat it at first, keep offering it.  Eventually, they will eat it.
3. Provide them with a variety of healthy options at each meal.
4. Dress it up.  Whether using cutters, picks or cups, kids love cute food.
5. Have at least one meal a day where only fresh, healthy foods are offered.
6. Teach by example.  Seeing you eat healthy foods makes them more likely to join in.
7. Allow them to help.  Kids are more likely to try something that they have helped to make.
8. Make it a game - Crunch a Color is your PERFECT solution!
9. Eat together as a family - at the table - for at least one meal each day. 
10. Be prepared.  Having fresh, healthy options washed, cut and ready to eat encourages healthy eating.  If it is easy to eat, they're more likely to grab it!

Here is a grocery list I made a couple years ago for my little one to assist him in picking out his own produce.  He chooses one fruit and one vegetable for each color and marks it off on the list.  He loves to go to the store with his own cart and choose his own items, and he ALWAYS eats them!  I encourage him to try new things each time, rather than the same old favorites.  Feel free to click on the photo below to download and print it for your own little one!
Want to buy your own?



  1. This is fantastic! You are absolutely right, it's never too late to start. We all need a little nudge sometimes (even us parents :). Thanks for making it so much fun!

  2. Beautiful lunch and veggie pics!!

  3. This is soooo amazingly super colourful way to putting food together! yup! thats what is great about bento!! putting in all the colors and nutrients!

  4. What a clever way to get kids to eat the colours of the rainbow! :)


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