Packing children’s lunches can try the patience of any busy parent, yet it’s a job that parents of most food allergic kids must do every school day, even if they’d prefer to buy their child’s lunch.
To make the lunch assembly process more palatable here are some tips from a mom who loathed packing her kids’ lunches, and challenged herself to make it less stressful.
Lunch Packing Tips
These five lunch-handling suggestions prove we can turn most any activity into an art form if we put our mind to it:
- Eating a sandwich for lunch everyday gets boring, so use dinner leftovers in your child’s lunches. This reduces lunch prep to dishing out, and repackaging already prepared items, and leftovers add variety to kids' lunch fare.
- Make lunch packing, and lunch eating more fun by getting creative with colors, and shapes. For instance, you might use cookie cutters on bread to make star, or animal-shaped sandwiches. Fancy toothpicks can hold sandwiches together, or be used for fruit kabobs. Making a design on an open faced cream cheese sandwich is easy with dried fruit pieces. You can also harness your kids’ creative energy by asking them for fun lunch ideas.
- Cook from scratch as often as possible, double the recipes, and freeze what’s extra. This includes pancakes, waffles, soups, chili, muffins, taco meat, barbecued pork, or slow-cooker casseroles. Home cooking gives us control over the quality of ingredients going into our meals, and the frozen extras become lunch-packing convenience foods.
- Ask each of your kids what they like to see in their lunch bag or box. Their preferences may surprise, and will likely inspire you. Children might, for instance, love eating a rainbow of colorful edibles, enjoy a variety of bite sized finger foods, prefer items that crunch, or enjoy a meal centered around one main item.
- Don’t be afraid to put something totally different in your kids' lunchboxes. They might sometimes come home with leftovers, but that’s okay. It’s good to expose children to new foods, and they just might love whatever concoction you’ve prepared. Even if they dislike it, kids love variety and may be thankful you don’t always pack the same old thing.
Activities we must do every day can easily become a dreaded chore. However, by making lunches a creative challenge, incorporating our kids’ ideas, and relying on our freezer’s bounty, packing lunches may become less odious, less stressful, and - though hard to imagine - maybe even a bit enjoyable.
Source: Kiran Dodeja Smith/100 Days of Real Food Photo credit: 100 Days of Real Food