When I signed my daughter up for school, I realized a new era was starting. The school lunch. I would be packing this for her twice a week. Luckily, it’s only preschool so I don’t need to worry about a full week yet. My first reaction, like many moms, was to get creative. I got on Pinterest and starting looking at school lunch ideas. There are hundreds of ideas on school lunches. I had no clue. Smiley face sandwiches, fruits in shapes, special wraps, and notes on themed paper. I pinned tons of ideas that looked so good and were healthy.
Then, the first day of school came. It was 6:00 a.m. and I had two kids to get out the door. I didn’t have the energy to make those creative ideas. She went to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The exact same thing I took for years. The next night, I was planning on revamping my original plan. Those pins just complicated things. It was time to go back to reality. Back to my life. So I adopted Plan B.
I don’t want to get stuck in a school lunch rut but I’m not a morning person so preparing a gourmet meal is not going to happen. And while many moms say you can prepare the night before. I’m too tired. The last thing I want to do after cleaning the dinner mess pack a lunch. I know you are agreeing with me! So I came up with a few simple rules for lunches. I decided to make meals simple and easy. She won’t have the same thing over and over again but I’m not going to create an award winning meal.
I’ve come up with five simple rules when packing lunch.
1. Stick with foods my kids will eat.
2. Keep meals simple and quick to prepare.
3. Make sure it won’t be messy.
4. Keep packaging to a minimum to help out teachers.
5. Don’t stress, it’s just lunch.
So what have we tried that lead to a clean plate at lunch.
1. The Classic: Peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich, fruit, cheddar crackers and water. This is the classic meal. My kids would ask for it every day. I know it will not go to waste at home or school. Luckily for me, we don’t have any peanut allergies.
2. Pita Bread, Cut up Veggies, Individual Serving of Hummus, and a drink. This is a super easy meal to prepare. I found these great hummus cups at Costco and can throw it in a lunch box with pita bread and a bag of baby carrots.
3. Yogurt (we use containers no squeeze tubes for the little ones – just creates work for the teachers), Fruit, granola and a drink.
4. Lunch meat, cheese, veggies with dip and a drink. You could make this a sandwich but my kids don’t eat sandwiches with lunch meat. They take it apart and eat it piece by piece. Applesauce cups are another popular lunch box item.
5. Pasta Salad, pita bread wedges, fruit and drink.
Yogurt smoothies and any vegetable in a squeeze pouch are also a big hit. The best part is you don’t have to prepare anything.
At home, I do a lot of meal prep and planning. For lunches, I opt for convenience. You don’t have to be super mom to make your kids a memorable lunch. I grew up taking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school almost every day. Did I complain, no. Was it a memorable lunch? It must of because I still remember it and still enjoy a good PB & J every once in a while. And let’s face it, did our parents google and pin school lunch ideas? No, they put lunch in a brown bag and sent us on our way.