Let’s Talk School Lunch

Nothing left to do but acknowledge the back to school elephant in the room because she’s here to stay. Summer is officially over. At this point, I’m kind of resigned to this reality and ready to get our scheduled lives underway. So, in the spirit of back to school, I’d like to share a few tips & ideas to help make packing lunches less stressful. Let me be honest – there is no magic trick that will make packing lunches super fast, or fun. That’s just hilarious. The below are realistic suggestions I believe will help alleviate some of the stress involved in making this mid day meal.

  1. Don’t Make It Complicated – We do this to ourselves, you know. We see the mom bloggers “quickly & easily” cutting cheese into flowers and making boats out of celery with cream cheese and “ants” and we look at our kids pb&j and think “my poor child is missing out on a healthy, delicious lunch.” Um, no. Your child is happily eating his/her lunch while the child with the ants and celery thing is starving. No offense to the talented moms who put all that time into making the crafty lunches – you rock. But for those of us who work, we just can’t do crafty. If you are like me and struggle to remember to put the lunch box, into the backpack, DON’T MAKE IT COMPLICATED. If Bobby likes a cheese sandwich, and wants to eat a cheese sandwich every single day, let him eat it. Nothing wrong with knowing what you like. Most adults eat the same thing for lunch every, single day. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.
  2. Bento Boxes – Are key. That being said, not all bento boxes are created equal. Don’t purchase a bento box that won’t hold a sandwich if you regularly send Susie in with a sandwich. It seems silly to say but most bento boxes are made to hold like eight small things. These boxes are for the people who cut the sammies into shapes. If you aren’t going to turn a square sandwich into a smiley face, you need to buy a box that will hold a full sized turkey and cheese. I know this because I’ve made this mistake. I read the “best bento box” review and ordered without really looking at the compartments. You can bet that baby went straight on back to Amazon. These days I prefer these perfectly sized, leak proof, microwavable, dishwasher safe, inexpensive bento boxes. I love them. Using a bento box allows you to pre-pack lunches. The night before, put in everything but the sandwich!
  3. Prep – I told you there wasn’t a magic wand. If you want to make the mornings easier, you are going to need to do some prep. Ava loves veggies and fruit in her lunch so on Sundays, after I pick up my home shop, I chop whatever fruits and veggies I’ve ordered for her that week. I cut up enough cucumbers, strawberries, carrots, etc. for the next five days and stack them into the fridge. Now instead of cutting and dicing, I just grab and toss. It stinks, I know, spending your Sunday “working” but 12 minutes of weekend work will make your weekday mornings run that much smoother. FYI – Regan likes the green apples soaked in whatever acid they soak them in so they don’t turn yellow. I’ll take it. Regan eating a fruit is a win.
  4. New Lunch Ideas – If you have a kid who’s bored with the same old, same old, try the SIMPLE ideas below. Just one a week – don’t go crazy:
  • Frozen Waffles with Peanut Butter – I put in the fridge the night before and they are ready to be spread on by the AM. One eggo has about the same amount of sugar as a piece of bread. It’s fine y’all
  • Frozen Mini Pancakes – Yep, I’m for real. One gram of sugar. Breakfast for lunch
  • Salami, Ritz Crackers and Cheese
  • Veggies with Individual Ranch or Hummus Cups
  • Fried Chicken Drumsticks – Purchase from the grocery, y’all
  • Pre-Made Grocery Store Chicken, Potato, Egg or Pasta Salad
  • Pimento Cheese with Crackers & Veggies
  • Cooked Kielbasa Sausage – Cook and slice on Sunday
  • Turkey and Cheese Tortilla Wraps – You can make these on Sunday – roll up, slice and stick in fridge
  • Nachos – Tortilla chips with shredded cheese, black beans, sour cream – whatever toppings your kids like. No need to heat up and melt. Rinse the beans on Sunday and keep in fridge
  • Use Slider Rolls – Kids love little food
  • Sammie Ideas – Cucumber & cream cheese & fluff and peanut butter

 

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