Re-think the Lunchbox

lunch-boxTo me, one of the greatest stressors of the back-to-school season, is not the flurry of preparation and the change in routine- but the rather daunting organizational challenge of packing lunches for the kids every day.

Add to that the challenge of finding something that they’ll eat that is also budget-friendly and nutritious… it’s enough to make you want to fast-forward to next summer.

Repackage some of your old lunch ideas so that they are new and more appealing.

Bye Bye Bread

Certainly, for most kids the sandwich is the staple. However, does the thought of the same old two slices with the regular fare in-between ensure that the sandwich is boomeranged right back home at the end of the day.

Swap out the bread for tortilla wraps, pitas or croissants. They add a new dimension to the flavour. Little hands love to hold on to rolled tortillas or pitas, and you can fill them with just about anything interesting.

Break out the Thermos

If you are brown bagging, you probably are bringing some leftovers to reheat at school the next day. Can’t you do the same for some of the kids’ favourite dishes?

Microwaves are probably in short supply at school, so heat things up at home and stock them in a thermos (make sure to pre-heat with hot water). A tip- dense foods, like beans and mac and cheese don’t hold their heat as well as some others.

I have been known to throw some chicken nuggets and fries in the oven in the morning while we are getting ready- and then straight into the thermos. Yummy finger food that gets eaten midday. Sold!

Crackers and…

Crackers and cheese have gotten pigeonholed as a snack food. I urge you to pair those crackers with some other items, to make them into the meal mainstay.

Set up those crackers with a side of tuna or chicken salad, and a small spoon to construct them. Try hummus too- very high in protein and iron.

Snack Lunch

When my kids were little, sometimes meals were an issue. However, if I broke up the meal components into “snacks”, they got eaten. Same difference.

The same can be said for lunches to go. Pack a load of snacks, and call it a day. Nutrition. Check. Calories. Check. Good to go!