So as with the rest of the back to school hype, another subject that takes up much time is ‘what to pack for lunch’ Over the last few years Ive had some level of success, and decided to share some of my tips to make this less stressful. For me the hard part wasnt so much the actual time it takes to pack the lunch, it was deciding what to make!
- Leftovers are awesome!
You are going to prepare supper for the family anyway, so just make a bit more that can then be converted to sandwich fillings. For example if youre making chicken, use the leftover to make a chicken salad sandwich, by adding in mayonnaise and finely chopped cucumber and lettuce.
- Fruits and veg
Because just sandwiches all the time are boring, and a little bit of variety is much appreciated. If youre sending certain fruits, such as apples, oranges or even mangoes, please make sure to cut them up into bite size chunks. Other favourites include cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrot sticks.
- Snack time
The school that my kids attend have a designated snack time, especially for the younger kids. The only rule is that this has to be a non-carb snack. In addition to the fruits and veggies, other options that go down well include cheese sticks, sliced boiled eggs, biltong, nuts, dried fruit, and yoghurt.
As much as I personally enjoy good ol’ peanut butter and jam, after 3 days straight Id be tired of it! Same applies to children. Even though they might have their firm favourites, theres always room for a little bit of mix’n match. For example if your childs favourite is cheese, you can make a cheese sandwich, then the next day opt for a different sandwich and add in cheese cubes, maybe then pizza, cheese burger, grilled cheese and onion.
I dont know about you guys, but whenever I googled ideas for kids lunches, I was always slightly overwhelmed by the picture perfect bento boxes, and pretty fish shaped sandwiches, or portions of rice made to llok like teddy bears….I cant do that! The truth is that in most cases, whilst some kids might enjoy that, mine would barely look at the effort when theyre hungry. Simple, good food that can keep little tummies from grumbling is good enough! If youre a mom who can make seascapes out of pasta, kudos to you. If youre a mom like me, well your kids arent hungry either, so job done!
Some time last year I decide to make more effort, and give my children a different type of lunch. Instead of just sandwiches, I did wraps, hotdogs, mini pies, and while I was feeling very proud of myself, Little Man however was getting frustrated. One day he said ” Mum, thanks for the nice lunch you make, but can we keep that as ‘home food’ Its not very easy to eat spaghetti and meatballs quickly. I miss out on a game of soccer. Can I have normal sandwiches instead?” 😀 Also remember that if youre sending spaghetti, include a fork, if its yoghurt tubs, a spoon. Small details can make or break the deal!
However, if you do want to make it a little special, in case of a special occasion, a paper cut out of a heart is more than enough for Little Miss, and Little Man appreciates finding scribbled jokes. Remember to add in something to drink, I usually include a bottle of water and a juice. In winter, hot chocolate in a kiddie flask is always a treat!
And with that, its off to school tomorrow!