It is school time and I am re-posting some lunch box options that have helped me greatly.
"Plan in advance for the entire week." I created a sheet of all my children's favorite lunch foods, dividing the foods into different groups -protein, veggies, fruits, dairy, carbohydrates and others (for left overs). First, I printed five sheets for each work day, and then laminated them. My kiddos go through the list with dry erase markers and circle what they want for lunch that week. This is helpful for my daughter who is actively learning about balancing food groups and healthy meal planning. Once they fill out the sheet, I prepare everything on Sunday and I am ready for the week ahead. I can later erase the sheets and use them again for the following week(s). I attached the sheet as a PDF here, click to open -> Lunch Menu, I also attached it as a jpg / picture to the right. In this blog, are some other tips, as well as some of the yummy, kid approved recipes. Anything on the chart with an * sign denotes a "Main Course" recipe below. If you cannot upload the image email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send one to you, free of charge.
Tip 1: Paint the inside of your child's lunch box with chalk paint and write a message!
Tip 2: To prevent their lunch box from becoming too heavy, give them money to purchase a healthy beverage at school, or provide them with an empty canister to fill-up with water.
Tip 3: Provide your little-one with a wet paper towel of water and hand soap (stored in a zip bag) and dry napkin to wipe their hands down before eating, or alternatively throw in a pre-packaged wet wipe.
Tip 4: Bento boxes are a great idea to organize food, try out store.goodbyn.com
Tip 5: For organizing the food in lunch boxes you may also consider individual, silicon cupcake molds. These molds come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.
Tip 6: We adults tend to eat what are kids eat, so include portions for yourself and the adults in your family.
Tip 7: Remember to taste your food as you are creating it and add what you need for flavor.
**Main Course Options:
*Sweet Protein Sandwich: Almond butter (finely ground) or sunflower butter, honey and banana on your choice of bread. Use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich into shapes.
Healthy Fat and Sweet Sandwich: Thinly sliced pear, avocado (mushed and spread like butter) on your choice of bread. Sicilian Pizza: Toast an english muffin and top with a thickened paste of tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella, sweet potatoes (baby food) and any other yummy ingredient -you may consider melting the cheese. Fold the two halves of english muffins together to make a sandwich, cut into fourths or smaller.
*Protein Veggie Wrap: Ground up veggie burgers with a dollop of hummus, dash of brown sugar, smidgen of ketchup and pinch of salt to taste. Spread mixture onto a roll-up (let your child taste and choose the roll-up; there are so many options!). Next roll the sandwich-up, cut into small portions and fasten with a fun tooth pick!
*Yummy Bagel: Spread cream cheese and cut-up strawberries onto a bagel. Cut-up in small bit-sized pieces (fun toothpick optional)
*Grilled Cheese: The jury is in, grilled cheese (provolone, low-fat cheese) is indeed still yummy when cold. I would recommend to make it tea-sandwich-like by cutting off the crusts; or try a grilled quesadilla.
*Avocado and Cheese Roll-Up: I cannot take credit for this one! I found this recipe in Real Simple Magazine. Spread a small amount of pesto onto wrap bread, chop-up carrots, avocado and cheddar cheese. I would recommend cutting this sandwich-up into small pieces and securing with a toothpick.
*Dinner Left Overs: Use a Thermos (especially in fall and winter)! Our home made family favorites include mac 'n cheese, chicken soup, alphabet soup and baked ziti.
*Cold Pasta Salad: Every child is different, go with your family favorite!
This is an ongoing effort for me and my family, if anyone has any advice, comments or tips to share than please email me at email@example.com!