The new school year has started and children are returning to the classrooms with clean backpacks, new crayons, pencils that still have an eraser, and white sneakers. Many children are also carrying their lunch to school. Unfortunately for some children, more thought was put into the brand of crayons in their pencil box than into what was going to provide them with energy and nourishment at lunchtime.
Planning a bag lunch is not difficult and doesn’t take much time. In fact, it can save you a lot of time and headache the night before or the morning of school. There are three simple questions I ask myself when planning our daughter’s school lunch for the week:
1. What does she like to eat?
2. What do we have in the refrigerator?
3. How much time do I have to prep?
What Does She Like To Eat?
Why waste time packing a healthful nutritious lunch if your child isn’t going to eat it? From day one, I told our daughter, “It is okay if you don’t like something in your lunch or are too full to eat it. Just leave whatever you don’t eat in your lunch box and bring it home. That way, I know
what not to pack next time.” There were times when she would bring some food home, but in most cases, her containers were licked clean.
What Do We Have In The Refrigerator?
It doesn’t make any sense to go grocery shopping for “lunch food” if you have perfectly good food in the refrigerator!
Are you making pasta for dinner this week? For lunch, simply take leftover pasta (sans the sauce) and top with cheese slice cut-outs. Are you making tacos for dinner? Make a taco kit for lunch! Put a few tablespoons of cooked taco meat in a small container. In silicone muffin cups, separate shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes and sliced black olives. Then wrap a hard shell taco or tortilla in plastic wrap. Do you have leftover red peppers or carrots from dinner? Slice thin and pack with some ranch dressing
Make side dishes more economical and environmentally-friendly by buying in bulk and using reusable containers. Applesauce, pudding, chopped fruit, yogurt, and chips can all be sent to school in a small reusable container. For extra fun and crunch, add candy sprinkles or a favorite cereal.
How Much Time Do I Have To Prep?
I plan our weekly family menus and lunch menus on Sunday. As I plan the lunch menus, I look at my schedule –
realistically. If the week looks crazier than my hair in the morning, then I plan simple-to-assemble lunches. I also rely on Freezer Lunches. Freezer Lunches are items that I have made ahead of time then froze. I add an item to the lunchbox in the morning and it is defrosted by lunch time! Such as: PB&J, String Cheese Breadstick, French Toast Sticks, and Taco Muffins. For freezer lunch ideas, go to www.BareWoodenSpoon.com. Click on KIDS! then Lunchbox.
BUT CAN’T YOU JUST PLAN THE LUNCHES FOR ME?!
Check out what Bare Wooden Spoon. to www.BareWoodenSpoon.com and click on KIDS!. Scroll down to Menus. There you will find weekly menus with breakfast, 2 snacks, and lunches.
What fun and simple lunch packing ideas do you have? Please share your ideas here!