Back to School Lunches – Easy, Healthy, & Fun!

Summer is over already? Well… almost, anyway. But you won’t see me crying! It has been a long, hot summer. I’m ready for fall leaves and cardigan sweaters, I’m ready to step foot outside without instantly breaking a sweat, and I’m ready for the kiddo to be back in school full time, but I’m really not all that thrilled about what “back to school” does to my lazy morning routine. What normally is a frantic dash for the door in my PJs (yep, PJs most days!) to get my kiddo to summer ‘camp’ will have to morph into something that incorporates papers, a backpack, and a LUNCH.

Now really, some moms are totally cut out for this thing called lunch packing. They come up with cute themes, and fun foods, and they write sweet nothings in their childrens lunchboxes. But that method is for the birds, guys! You don’t need to put all that effort and excess. Sure, for a special occasion I bet your littlest kids would really appreciate the cute factor. But most days, I imagine, the food either gets thrown away or eaten and theres no real notice in between. So instead of sharing cutesy ideas that take 24 hours worth of prep time, I’ve decided to share some ideas to get healthy food into their bellies without breaking bank, losing time, or compromising quality.

Lunch Chart - Photo courtesy of: familyfun.go.com

Plan ahead!
HAHAHAHA This one is almost laughable to me, the queen of procrastination. But really I have found that this actually gives me time to sleep in in the morning so even I, the queen, have learned to plan ahead.

Sharing the packing process with your kids makes it fun and functional. You learn about their constantly changing wants/needs and help them understand the time and effort you put into those meals they’re so quick to throw away sometimes! They will take pride in the fact that they did it themselves and there are so many ways they can help!

  • Simple: Let your children pick the ingredients that go onto their sandwich, spread the pb&j, add the cheese, package it up.
  • Visual: Make up flashcards with different lunch options, let your child “pack their lunch” by placing the flashcards in their lunchbox before bed and have them look in the morning to see that “like magic” their lunches have appeared just as they ordered!
  • Sensorial: Put out baskets of fruit, veggies, and snacks and let each child pull out each item and place it in their lunch box. Ask them questions about which item in each basket they like best and which they like the least!
  • For older kids: Make up a board of options and let your kids choose! Have them pull out all the necessary ingredients and ask if YOU can help THEM make their lunch! Have them provide you instructions, let them be the boss!
Do-It-Yourself Lunchables
When I was a kid we LOVED lunchables. I mean, the luckiest kids at lunch were the ones who had do-it-yourself sandwiches and just FORGET ABOUT IT when they released the do-it-yourself pizzas! But I’ll be honest, those meats freak me out. So why not recreate a lunchable for your kids? It will be free of the mystery yuck factor of lunchables! Using cookie cutters to slice cheese and meats, with a side of crackers or pita bread for make your own sandwiches! A small container with marinara, baggie of cheese, and mini pepperoni for a pizza! Tortilla chips, small container of queso, and toppings like ground beef, sour cream, etc. all would make wonderful simple packs to send with ¬†your child, letting them create their own lunch at the table!

Homemade Fruit Leather - Photo courtesy of: weelicious.com

Healthy Alternatives to Prepackaged Food
Rather than relying on prepackaged snacks for your childs lunch, with a little effort and help from the kiddos you can make your own yummy snacks in house! Check out some of these fun recipes:

Another great resource for recipes is: ilunchbox.com

So hopefully now you feel more armed and ready to gear up for the school year! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and I’ll see ya’ll around!

 

 

 

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