For family food Friday I thought I would share with you some inspiration for school lunches. I know for some it’s easy but others dread the making of school lunches. We always start off so well in September, and then a couple weeks into it, when our lives catch up to us and our schedules become packed the lunches become more about ‘quick and easy’ and less about clean and healthy. It’s so tempting to fill your grocery carts with pre-packaged lunch stuff, then all you have to do is throw a bunch of things into a lunch bag and away you go. It’s the easy way out, and the kid-pleasing way out (because, lets face it, kids love bringing Lunchables, Bearpaws and chewy fruit snacks for lunch) but it’s not the healthiest, especially on a clean-eating diet. Here are some ideas and examples of easy, quick, clean and healthy lunches you can make that will also save you money!!!
Make your own lunchable! While deli-meat isn’t really on the clean-eating list, it is a staple in a lot of people’s homes and with more and more healthy, natural options available, it is a kid-friendly lunch option. Choose healthy, whole grain, natural crackers, add some low-fat cheese, some low-sodium, all natural ham (or your favorite meat or sausage) and some carrot sticks. Arrange them in fun little cupcake liners in a container with a lid and there you have it, a quick and easy lunchable that is alot healthier than one you would buy! The possibilities are endless on the combinations you can come up with, and if your kids are anything like KB they will love being able to put together their own lunch.
This is one of KB’s favorite combinations, and I know she will come home with a full tummy and an empty lunch bag! Use combinations of fruit or vegetables, or go with a theme being explored in class (KB’s class was working on colours in science, so we did an all red snack box) to make every lunch fun and interesting!!!
I hated sandwiches (actually, I still do :P). But The Hub LOVES them (what a typical man!) and KB wants to love them but can’t always bring herself to eat them. Most parents return to the ever faithful sandwich as a staple of the lunch box, and most kids complain. The solution? Jazz up the sandwich!!! Its takes just as much time to make a butterfly sandwich as it does a square one AND its a great excuse to add fun cookie cutters to your collection!!! I know some parents are AMAZINGingly creative and make wonderful works of sandwich art, but you don’t have to take hours to plan your sandwich masterpiece for it to be fun. Here are some of the ones I’ve done for KB.
A hot lunch is another fun way to get some veggies into your kids! KB is always excited to see a thermos in her lunch because it usually means soup or leftovers from the night before. She feels very grown-up knowing she is eating the same thing as me for lunch. While you are making a little extra dinner for your lunch the next day, you can always save just a little more for your kids’ lunches to. Do you make homemade soups, stews and chilis? A great way to freeze them into the right portion sizes for quick hot lunches is to use a muffin tin. Simply fill each compartment with some of your soup, freeze, then pop out and store in a ziplock. When you need to fill up a thermos, simply take out one of your frozen ‘pucks’ and warm it up!!!
A little prep goes a long way towards getting healthy foods into those lunch boxes. When I’m cutting up veggies for dinner, always cut up just a little more to put in KB’s lunch. Same goes with fruit. I don’t just cut the amount of fruit I need, I cut it all up and have it ready to go, that way if I’m running short on time I can just fill up her containers and put them in her lunch box. If you prep as you go, then there is no excuse not to a fridge full of fresh, ready-to-go foods for the lunch box! When I have time to be creative, I love to cut her fruit into shapes with small cookie cutters, or use a melon baller. Fruit kabobs are another fun treat! Even picky kids can bring their fav fruits! You can keep orange wedges cut up and ready to go in the fridge, and a cut up apple will stay white if you hold it all together with an elastic or ribbon, or sprinkle it with a little cinnamon and lemon(ok, ok, Grandma always put sugar on them to, but for sugar-free households the cinnamon and lemon is all you really need!) The lemon stops the apple from browning too much and the cinnamon hides any places that do!
I hope that helps to get you out of the pre-packaged lunch rut! For more inspiration on fabulous bento box-styled lunches you should definitely check out Pinterest.com (yes, I’m slightly OBSESSED!) and This Lunch Rox, a phenomenally talented Mum, whose kids have the best lunches EVER!!!
Next week, I’ll post some recipes on yummy, healthy, baked treats to add to those lunches (and yours too!) Until then, take care everyone 🙂
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m Fertile, ttfn, xo