Author: Kelly Lehmann • Date: September 1, 2014 • Appears in:
Five Lunch Box Tips for Back to School
I’ve always loved back to school. There’s something about a fresh start that is as promising as New Year’s to me. But as soon as I remember that I have to spend the next 10 months packing lunches for my kids, the excitement fades away.
Search the internet for lunch box ideas and beautiful images of bento boxes with elaborate lunches pops up. Everyone seems to have cute plastic skewers and time for cutting fruit into tiny stars. They also seem to have watermelon and oranges year round. And the schools they go to allow nuts.
It is better to keep things fairly simple, particularly for young children. Never underestimate the power of a sandwich and a few fun finger foods. Forget packaged snacks that are deemed “kid” foods. Your kids need the same nutrients you need and we are responsible for developing the preferences they’ll carry into adulthood.
- Come up with a list of favourite fruit and vegetables. For vegetables that will keep, cut up a bunch at the beginning of the week and bag in individual portions. Have other favourites on hand to cut up in the morning and send to school.
- A few sandwich fillings and a couple different breads can go a long way towards keeping things interesting. Tortillas, crackers, or pitas make great, easy sandwiches. Most kids don’t really mind having the same things week in and week out, especially if you vary the fruit/vegetables sides. Egg salad or tofu “egg” salad, cheese and cucumber, or seed butter and jelly are pretty simple and satisfying options. (my kids like sunflower butter and WOW butter).
- Leftovers should be part of the plan. At the start of the week, make your menu and be sure to incorporate the leftovers into lunch. Leftover chicken makes great burritos. A thermos means you can pack up pasta for lunch.
- What if you only have a few leftover scraps in the house? A container with compartments (or if you have the cute bento boxes) means you can send a smorg of leftovers (no cookie cutters required). Crackers, grapes, carrots, cheese cubes, a couple bits of leftover meat from the night before. Done.
- Save introducing new foods for supper. Stick with what you know your kids will eat for lunch. Hungry kids don’t learn well (or behave well!). Make sure you have a good breakfast too.
Here are a few links to some great ideas to get you started…
Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls I make these with ½ cup of pumpkin seeds instead of the almonds, so they can go to school.
Back to School Lunch Ideas Okay, so there are a few bento boxes in this one, but some good ideas too!