October 7, 2015
Easy, Peasy School Lunches!
With the school year well underway it’s a good time to recap the keys to preparing successful school lunches! I know for me there are days when I think, “man, buying school lunches would be so much easier for me”…. but then I remember what they are serving, blah! It always comes back to being prepared. If I take just an extra few minutes during the week to lunch prep a few items it makes sending school lunches so simple and easy peasy! Plus, I feel good about what I’m feeding my kids. I don’t always make delicious items to put in my 1st grader’s lunch but to her it’s great. Pictured above – was her lunch today and she was so excited. She LOVES power balls.
- 4 cups total of: Old fashion oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds
- 1 C Natural Peanut Butter
- 1/2 C Raw Local Honey
- Mix together – add more peanut butter or honey as needed.
- Roll into balls
- Drop onto cookie sheet
- Freeze to set (about an hour)
- Freeze any leftovers
You can add in craisins, raisins, dark chocolate chips….really anything you want to spice them up. My kiddos prefer them simple!
If you have fallen out of the routine of sending school lunches just jump right back on – I hope the post from last year can help get you going again! Life gets busy. This week I needed to reread this post and regroup.
September 10, 2014
My kindergartener has been in school now for several weeks and while I am still mastering the art of school lunches I have come a long way in a few short weeks! As the school year was approaching the researcher in me kicked into full speed and I started reading article after article on school lunches….sounds fun I know! I wanted to make sure or at least give my best efforts to make school lunches that were similar to how we eat at home and not revert back to highly processed boxed foods! The general ideas are the same and I’ve tried to consolidate those here!
Unfortunately, there was one thing I did not see in any article – how to teach your Kindergartener to continue praying before lunch when no one else is praying. Kailee went to a Catholic Preschool and while we are not Catholic there were many aspects of her Preschool we loved. One being they pray before meals. I hope she continues to pray before lunch and doesn’t feel uncomfortable doing so!
Ok, back to the food portion of school lunches!
Here is a pic of Kailee’s first school lunch – all the options are good – but the packaging is horrible! This is a true rookie mistake!
I had ordered the Ziploc containers on Amazon, but they didn’t arrive in time for her first lunch….so I thought I would just throw it in this! Big Mistake! After the first day of school I was so excited to see my sweet little girl, to hear about her day and all her stories. What I discovered is that she was STARVING! Starving because her food had gotten all mixed up and the granola had gotten all over her apple sandwich and everything was a mess. She had even tried to take a few bites of her granola covered apple sandwich, poor thing. Needless to say this was a total FAIL!
After a few days I started getting the hang of things (and my containers arrived, whew!). Here are a few pics of better packed lunches.
Here is what I have learned so far…
Three key pointers to success:
- Containers with separate compartments. I use the Ziploc containers but there are several good options. http://www.amazon.com/EasyLunchboxes-3-compartment-Containers-BPA-free-Easy-open/dp/B004UIRUJ2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1410315521&sr=8-2&keywords=ziploc+containers
These are great for several reasons – the items do not get mixed up and it forces you to have a more balanced meal.
- I have my daughter help me with her lunch. She normally gets to choose between two options for her veggies and fruit. And she approves of everything that goes in her lunch. If they won’t eat it at home the chances of them eating it at school are slim to none! (Tip: Keep reintroducing new foods at home and giving as an option for lunches)
- Pack the night before. Food prep is an important part of eating well. I pack my daughter’s lunch and her water bottle the night before so all I have to do is put her container in her lunch bag with ice packs and her water bottle in her back pack – she actually does this now every morning.
I’m still shocked every time Kailee comes home and tells me there are kids in her class who have Cheetos and Gatorade in their lunches. I understand busy schedules this is why food prep is so important, so you are not forced to grab something on the go. I also have her leave what she doesn’t eat in her lunch box so I know what she likes and doesn’t like and how much food she needs!
I try to mix things and keep a variety in her diet by not sending the same thing every day. I have found that if I make lunch food and freeze it, it’s so much easier. Kailee loves taking zucchini muffins homemade granola and power balls so I try to keep a stash in the freezer and alternate. She also loves the heart shaped muffin tins, makes it extra fun and always puts a smile on her face! Sometimes healthy food isn’t as fun as the cool junk you can get at the grocery store, I get that. So I have pulled out my cookie cutters and anything that can be cut into a fun shape, gets cut! What’s better than a fun shaped PB & Honey sandwich or some heart shaped cucumber! Big Hit…HUGE!
So far here are some of Kailee’s fav lunch items:
Pizza – I just put pizza sauce on a whole wheat pita sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and cook it. She eats it cold and loves it! (I try to use all organic ingredients)
Smoothie Pops – Green smoothie in a freezer pop mold (she loves these)
Hard Boiled Eggs –easy for me too! 🙂
Star Shaped Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwich
Check out this link for some more great school lunch ideas!
As I mentioned previously there as several great articles on school lunches available, I just prefer @100daysofrealfood. I get so many ideas from Lisa! Once you get the hang of it you can easily adjust things to meet your child’s preferences.
Happy Lunch Making!!! :)