For most families, at this point in the school year, kid lunches are starting to get stale. Well not literally, but I’ll bet a lot of moms are starting to pack the same old boring lunches day in and day out.
I love making lunches for my boys. For me, it’s a work of art. I remember the lunches my mom packed us and they weren’t exciting (sorry Mom if you are reading this). Back in the day when nut allergies were unheard of, I would get a PB and J daily with some slimy fruit and maybe a hard mandelbread. In my opinion, an awesome lunch makes the day. You have something to look forward to and once it’s been eaten you feel satisfied and well nourished ready to take on the rest of the day.
I don’t pack the same lunch for both boys. They are individuals with different likes and dislikes and so I respect that. While preparing for school to start in mid-August, I ordered some lunch supplies online at Fenigo and Noplastic. I asked each boy to choose a lunchbox and a water bottle. Trevor chose this one and Jason picked this. The only criteria were that each lunch box had to be easy to clean. Trevor’s can go in the washing machine and Jason’s cleans well on the top rack of my dishwasher. In the past we had chosen lunchboxes that were difficult to keep clean and had to be thrown out due to the growth of mold.
I believe that kid sized food is the key to a successful lunchbox. I picked up some small containers to hold bite sized food. They are perfect for diced cheese, cucumber slices, a few baby carrots and even berries when they are in season. It’s overwhelming for a child to open their lunchboxes and find large portion sizes of food, even foods they love. Keep the portions sizes to ¼ cup or ½ a cup.
I use tight sealing containers to pack applesauce (homemade or from a jar), yogurt and anything else that could spill out.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you know my plight with baking. Well, over the Christmas holidays I finally came to terms with my dilemma. A few more baking disasters ensued including a mixer that caught on fire (don’t worry nobody got hurt) but I did it! I am an official baker. I realized I am a mom of 3 boys and I HAVE NO CHOICE. I must bake. So, I bake a cake or cookies or banana bread or muffins every Sunday night. Then I portion everything out and freeze them each individually (this stops the Richard and me from devouring the yummy baked goods). These are high calorie snacks but they contain no preservatives or artificial crap like the store bought Rice Krispie squares or Bear Paws I used to buy. Most of my desserts contain eggs, flour, butter, sugar and chocolate. Eaten in moderation, I am happy to give these treats to my kids.
It’s important to pack some type of protein in your child’s lunch box. Trevor likes chopped egg so I often give him that in a sandwich. Trevor is maturing and so are his taste buds. At 7 years old I can finally pack him leftovers from supper. Here are some of the choices I have given him recently: fish stew, bean burritos, vegetarian meatloaf, carrot stew, meatballs with pasta, tuna casserole and cut up cooked chicken. I heat up his hot thermos with boiling water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I heat up the leftovers in the microwave and then put it in the thermos. I visited his school last week at lunch and the food was warm but not hot.
Jason is in Kindergarten which is a transition in itself. Jason requires comfort food and so I pack him pasta with tomato sauce every day in his hot thermos. For protein, hard boiled eggs, cut up cheese or cottage cheese.
I use a cold thermos for their beverages which is either milk or watered down 100% apple juice.
I have noticed when the weather is warm their lunch boxes come home empty. When it’s cooler they don’t seem to be as hungry. I save any leftovers that come home for after school munching.