Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't Get In A Lunch Rut {Part 1}

In light of back-to-school season, we thought it would be fun to share a few ideas for delicious, healthy, not-boring school lunches.

Today we'll chat about ideas for the lunch itself - tomorrow we'll talk about the bags/boxes we pack it in. We'll show you a few we think are neat. AND! We've got a super cool (super green) giveaway lined up!

So, to keep lunch time fun, to fend off a boring lunch rut, and to really nourish your little student here are a few ideas:

* Include small portions of several foods rather than large portions of just a few things.
* Be creative with dips: peanut butter or yogurt for fruit. Hummus or a salad dressing for veggies. (The Meza Hummus available at Costco is delicious!) Cream cheese or salsa for crackers.
* Sneak a little pack of stickers in your child's lunchbox for an unexpected surprise.
* Sick of sandwiches? Try a pasta salad with whole wheat pasta, finely chopped veggies, cheese, & olives.
* Drop your child a love note in their lunchbox, my mom used to do this and it was so fun to discover an unexpected little message from her mid-day!
* If you're sending apple slices, dip them into water mixed with lemon juice to prevent browning (you can also submerge them in Sprite for the same effect!)
* Let your children help with food selection and preparation. To help them make nutritious choices you can make a master list of acceptable options and then let them choose from among them. They'll be much more likely to eat what they've chosen and helped to prepare.
* Prep the night before - mornings are crazy enough sans lunch stress.
* Buy some little cutters and make shapes out of cheese, fruit leather or tortillas.
Wouldn't it be fun to send little messages with letter-shaped food? Check out this awesome Wilton set of alphabet cutters:

available here

Still curious about great lunch ideas? There are tons of fun and helpful tips at Another Lunch. Really, it's an incredible resource; check it out! And make sure to meet us back here tomorrow for a lunch-related giveaway!

What are your best suggestions for a great school lunch?


Trina said...

I try to keep stash of frozen muffins to grab from (zucchini, apple, banana, and pumpkin are the kids' favorites). I also pre-spread mini-bagels with cream cheese and freeze those. The kids grab them out of the freezer, and they're thawed by lunch time. I bought an industrial-size roll of plastic wrap from Costco ($20?) for wrapping everything up about 18 months ago, and we've barely dented it, despite wrapping hundreds of muffins/bagels/sandwiches in it. (Much cheaper than ziplocs.)

I'm going to have to try the apple slices in sprite! Yum!

Heather said...

I love Another Lunch's blog! Such great ideas. Another cool one to check out is Muffin Tin Mom and the address is http://michellesjournalcorner.blogspot.com/ for great ideas as well!
Thanks for this post, I am always looking for new ideas!!

Kaitlyn said...

Great ideas! I dip apple slices in pineapple juice and that works great to.
My kids love to take leftover pizza that I cut up and they eat with a toothpick. They also like when I make kabobs out of fruit, chesse, and lunch meat.

Melissa said...

Love these suggestions! I bought a set of biscuit cutters and use the largest one to pb&j with now and then. I don't know why, but a circular shaped sandwich is just fun and different enough that they gobble them up.

Many Titles said...

I just started following you not too long ago. I think these are great ideas. I have a 2 year old and even though she is with me most of the time for lunch doesn't mean that I can't still do some of these things. Can't wait to see what you pack them in.

Kathryn said...

I love Another Lunch - so inspiring! I'm adding the letter cutters to my Wish List.