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Back To School Countdown (Lunches)

OMG - Lunches! I swear, this is the most dreaded part of back to school - having to come up with a lunch every day and have it be one that will actually get eaten! My kids can go hog-wild over a food for a week or two, letting you think you have finally solved the food dilemma, then - 180 turn - they don't like it anymore! Frustrating beyond belief!

All that to say I am constantly on the hunt for lunch ideas. I posted some current favourites in this post, but, not all of those options are.... 'hypo-allergetic', shall we say, and others are harder to make work in a lunch box than they are at home. However, you might wanna check out the post - the veggie roll-ups, mini-pizzas and yogurt with fruit combos are classic, if I do say so myself ;-)

I also love this great idea that a reader, M. T., posted yesterday: her son is not a sandwich fan but he will eat..... kid sushi! She says: 'You take the 2 pieces of bread that they hate eating in a sandwich and roll it thin with a rolling pin. Then spread with mayo, jam, whatever your child likes (it's like the glue to keep everything together) and put cut-up filling along one side of the smooshed bread slice like ham, cheese, egg, slivered carrots. The filling choice is the part that the kids can get involved in. Roll the filling in the bread and cut like sushi in about 1" pieces. My kids love the change but you are still using the same ingredients as you would for sandwiches!' Sounds like a plan to me, M.T.!!

For picky eaters, I also find that the Bento Box idea works well. Technically, it is providing a small sampling of several foods in a pretty and artistic format, but... I just - gasp! - throw it all in. (I know - don't tell!! Our little secret ;-) ..... However, if you wanna get fancy, here's some ideas to trigger your imagination:

Nightmare Before Christmas (source: Disney)
Tigress Bento (source: Clumsyfingers)
'Care' Bear Bento (source: What's For Lunch At Our House)
So, ummm, yes - there are some truly... ummm...gifted people out there (and 'clumsy fingers' my a**). Actually, believe it or not, on that last site What's For Lunch At Our House, there are daily posts with all sorts of Bento ideas and everyone of like mind is invited to post their Bento Box pictures on her page on Wednesdays.... Yep. 

Here are some other ideas that might be more manageable:

  • When it comes to a supper your kids really enjoy, make extras. A lot of extras - enough to freeze for leftovers one day the next week AND more besides that can be given as lunch the next day!
  • Who doesn't like breakfast for supper?? or lunch?... I see nothing wrong with some whole grain cereal in a bowl - they can add fresh milk from the cafeteria. Or leftover waffles, pancakes or muffins. Include a hard-boiled egg as a side to get some protein in there. 
  • Give 'em a sandwich on a stick.... cube bread or English muffins and cheese and alternate on a stick (I'd use straws instead of bamboo as it would be safer at school).
  • Another kabob version: fruit and cheese on a straw with a side of yogurt. 
And these ideas and links are all from Canadian Parents Online:
  • Stretch your cooking... if you are making homemade pizza for supper, use the left overs to make these Pizza Pita Pockets. Yummy, and a heck of a lot healthier than the store-bought versions!
  • Make your side-dishes work for you too -  wrap up left over rice and veg in a soft tortilla for a quick burrito (my kids like rice so I love this one!). 
  • Mix veggies or fruit into cream cheese and use that as a spread on a sandwich or bagel: one of mine likes broccoli and spinach, the other loves pineapple, so these will be tops on my list
  • This Pasta & Fruit salad might be my saving grace - we eat a lot of pasta! Now all I have to do is save some before I add the sauce, then add chopped apples, dried fruit, cheese and chopped spinach to it for a cute little lunch I really think the kids will enjoy!
Last but not least - if your child's absolute favourite thing is a PB & J sandwich, don't despair... at least not until or unless they reject soya butter. It's a nut free peanut butter replacement. Dominion has one, and there is also 'I.M. Healthy SoyaNut Peanut Butter' that you can look for. If your school allows other nuts (some rule out just peanuts, others rule out all tree nuts so check to be sure), try almond butter (sweet even without sugar) or cashew butter (creamier texture and milder taste than peanut butter) - both are delish!

A final note, as if you're asking: Pack something you know your kids will eat! My children will not "eat it anyways when they get hungry" - they just plain won't have lunch if they don't like the food. So I try to pack food they enjoy to ensure their little brains and bodies have the energy and nutrients they need to get them through the afternoon. And if that means an egg a day for one, and a constant stream of cheese for the other... so be it ;-)

8 more sleeps!!!!

August 31, 2011 EDIT: Found this link as well today, which may be helpful:

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I just wrote on the same subject over at my blog (! A friend sent me the link to yours. Sounds like our kids are singin' from the same songbook. Love something for a week or two, then NEVER AGAIN. My daughter has rejected the soynut butter, but I'm going to give sunflower butter a try. It's worth a shot. Please post any new ideas as they come along - I need all the help I can get!