When I was a little girl I carried my school lunch in a brown paper bag. Inside I would always find a napkin with a handwritten note or smiley face on it. I loved those sentimental surprises, however these days a simple carrier won’t cut it. In most schools a peanut butter sandwich is off limits too. So what’s a mom to do?
School starts next week and for the first time my girls will be eating lunch there. Nothing beats a hot lunch, but my first grader is a picky eater so I’m anticipating some packing. The old adage that you’ve got to feed your brain to learn is so true. I’m hoping that with a little added preparation and organization, and of course a whole lot of style, my children will eat well at school.
If you Google “school lunch” you will find a wealth of ideas and recipes. No need to even search online, just ask other moms. One of my best friends had a genius idea by asking my daughter what her very favorite foods were. I know that doesn’t sound like rocket science, but I’ve got a long list of lunch ideas now. Believe it or not, it can become a struggle to be creative and healthful while hoping your child will actually eat what you send in his or her lunch bag. I’ve met plenty of moms who say packing lunch is the most begrudged part of sending children back to school. So let’s make it fun.
Consider “liking” some of these great resources I’ve found on Facebook. Easylunchboxes posts great tips along with lunch gallery photos. It’s fun to see the practical and creative ideas there. Instead of having to ask, “what’s for lunch?” your child could choose from the menu of photos. School Lunch Ideas is another favorite. They share suggestions for picky eaters, early morning breakfasts, packaging and more.
No more paper or Ziploc bags are necessary. There is a wide array of lunch boxes and containers now. Pottery Barn Kids, Lilly Pulitzer, Mimi the Sardine, My Retro Baby, and Mary Jane Bags have great selections of stylish and practical choices. Bento boxes like the ones made by Easylunchboxes, common in Japanese cuisine are the new trend in packaging school lunches. Bentos are one box with several compartments to organize food. You can also find containers with ice pods to keep food cool like the ones I found at Target. Look there for reusable ice packs in cool shapes too. They are a perfect addition to a packed lunch since bacteria can form after just a couple of hours. Warm yogurt tastes yucky anyway! Pack It lunch bags boasts up to ten hours of keeping food cool. Add a fun twist with supplies like shape cutters. Who wouldn’t love a heart shaped sandwich? Amazon lists several in a variety of shapes.
Good luck this school year in making lunches healthy and fun. No matter what you make for your children’s meals or which lunch boxes you choose, don’t forget to add a personalized napkin note. They’ll love it!