It’s true. Back to school time has happened for some, and others it’s fast approaching. I will miss my kiddo, but am excited for the routine again. One thing I do not look forward to is back to school lunches. I am talking packing a cold lunch. How do you feel about it? There is nothing fun about opening your cold lunch and seeing the same sandwich, drink and some crackers in a bag, and a random piece of fruit.
Some days, that’s ok, but people are creative out there. There are tons of ideas online on how to mix things up in your child’s lunch. I played around with “Bento” style lunches last year for my daughter and she was thrilled to see her lunch every single day. (You can learn more about this style and see photos with ideas here.)
Do I really have the time?
This is the big question or big excuse. YES! Packing a cold lunch lets you pick healthy choices for your child’s lunch. It may take less than 5 minutes to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, throw in a bag a fruit snacks, a banana, a granola bar, and a bag of crackers and perhaps a juice box or get a milk at school. But every single day, the same variations gets boring for both your child and for yourself. Really.
For example, say your kiddo loves PB & J, yet hates the crust, or you are just sick of making it. Try something like this PB & J on a stick! How cute, fun and super easy! Cut up apples and put a scoop of peanut butter on the side or some caramel sauce, instead of just a whole apple.
Use dinner left overs in their lunches. If you purchase containers/lunchboxes with divided compartments it makes it so easy! Here is a great article and review from 100 Days of Real Food on the different types of available boxes, but you can also just search online for them. I personally bought ours at Target.
Here are my top 8 reasons why to stop the mundane brown paper bag cold lunch:
1. Presentation. It looks pretty and fun, especially depending on the age of you child, this matters and encourages them to eat healthier choices.
2. Use leftovers easily. Say you had tacos the night before. Use a divided compartment lunchbox aka Bento box and put all of the taco toppings, meat, and other condiments and maybe throw some tortilla chips in there as well. Make it fun, deconstructed is fun. See a great how-to on this here.
3. Use your creativity. Take the basics, such as a sandwich and cut it with a cookie cutter, turn it into a wrap, make fruit sushi, get real crazy and make them each day like these.
4. It’s cool. Simple.
5. There is less waste, less baggies, less paper bags. You can still put the “box” inside a reusable lunch bag.
6. Your kiddo maybe the envy of the lunch table, which in-turn may inspire other kids to eat healthier and tell their parents about it. (this happened to me us last year)
7. Other parents might think you are crazy and it takes too much time. But, nope you just tell them how easy it is, and how it really only takes a few minutes more. Plus, you will be the cool parent.
8. Kids can help! (they can help with boring lunches too, ha) You can have them cut things up, or even pick a theme and you put it together so they are surprised the next day.
Here are some great resources from really creative parents and other bloggers to check out: