Are you running out of ideas yet for you kid’s school lunches? I ran out of ideas about a month ago. Well, it’s more that my kids are being picky! I’m full of ideas, just not ones they are always willing to eat.
I thought I would share some typical lunches that my kids take to school. They aren’t big on sandwiches, so they are mostly Bento style (refers to a Japanese styled meal consisting of lots of little things). Snack type things, but packed into a lunch sized container. It’s more exciting than just a sandwich, as it provides variety for the kids, and you can easily mix it up each day. It’s also super easy to put together in the morning, since you can prep stuff ahead of time, and mix in store bought with homemade items.
Each packed lunch consists of a main lunch (in a thermos or larger container) and a morning snack (smaller container) and afternoon snack (a banana). These are pretty typical lunches that they get each day, but these pictures are a mix taken from over two weeks since some days they get the exact same thing as the day before, and that isn’t very interesting to share with you.
Communicating with my kids is key with kids when it comes to their lunches. If my kids don’t eat something I ask why, sometimes they claim they didn’t have time, but it’s usually because they didn’t like it. I’m not one for giving them tons of junky treats in their lunches because I don’t want them crashing after eating empty carbs and sugary treats. But I also know sometimes pizza bites and cheese buns are fun, and that a full tummy is better than an empty one. And on the days where they don’t eat as healthy at school, I make sure their after school snack and dinner are loaded with fruit and veggies.
I prep veggies for the week at the beginning of the week so it’s easy to grab them for the kids lunches, and it makes for easy healthy snacking for my husband and I throughout the day. This week started out with a very typical lunch, cheese and crackers or salami with lots of fruits and veggies, and of course no kid friendly lunch is complete without a chocolate chip granola bar.
Mixing it up with a hot lunch. The week before this the kids were sick of the same things over and over, so this was a big change and they loved it! They are frozen pizza bites that I baked that morning, and put in the preheated thermos (fill with boiling water while the food is baking), normally if they get a thermos lunch, it’s leftovers from dinner the night before. They eat a banana every day for one snack, and my daughter loves her fish crackers and granola bar. This day my son asked for half a cheese bun, and yes he was hungry and grumpy at the end of the day, so they didn’t get this again!
Wednesday and Thursday
Much more typical packed lunches. Muffins are almost always the main part of their lunch (these are made from scratch, whole wheat low sugar banana yogurt muffins), they love cheese and crackers, and lots of fruit and veggies!
Another typical lunch, with those cheese buns sneaking in again (gotta use up the bag of them!). I don’t buy the cheese buns every week, but the rest is pretty typical. My daughter does like wraps, so this day she had a wrap with some turkey and cheese and lettuce. I like that I can cut up apple slices for both of them, and they both love bananas and granola bars. The rest of their lunch is more specific to their own likes and dislikes.
I prefer slicing the apples for them, that way I know they eat it all, instead of just nibbling a little off a whole apple. To stop them from going brown, I dunk them in an orange juice and water mixture, and just put a little paper towel in to absorb any extra liquid. You can use lemon juice, but I find that changes the taste of the apple too much for kids.
The main lunch containers I use are rubbermaid from Walmart or Costco. The smaller containers I use to divide up the foods, in the fun shapes and colours, I bought at The Real Canadian Superstore, they also sell fun shaped ice packs too! Muffin liners (reusable silicone ones or just paper) work great to keep food separated. I like to put a little piece of paper towel with wet fruit, so nothing leaks or makes anything else soggy. I also don’t pack the lunches at night, which I know so many people do. By the end of the day I am beat, and just can’t bring myself to make a mess again in the kitchen. My kids also don’t like things to be cold that aren’t supposed to be cold (like bananas or crackers). And things like bread or crackers can get a little soggy if put in the fridge overnight. So I just get up before my kids to have my own breakfast and coffee, and then pack the lunches while they are eating their breakfast.
Hope this inspires you to have a little fun with your kid’s school lunches, mix it up a little with some ideas you see here, and pack healthy nutritious meals.