Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Make School Lunch without Losing Your Mind

Now that school has been in session a few months, the newness of packing lunches has worn off, and the (potential) drudgery has set in.

I would love to be a school lunch wizard like local blogger Wendolonia, who photographs he two sons' lunches each day. She does crazy-amazing things with bento boxes, alphabet punches, and edible markers.

Instead, I'm just trying to make my mornings run more smoothly, and try to remember who needs to ear a PE shirt, and who has art today (which means clothes that can get really messy). So, in my juggling act with 4 kids, I aim to make lunches for the week ahead of time on Sunday, and put them in the fridge all ready to go for the week.

I use these super simple containers for the lunches, with occasional silicon cupcake molds for dividing the main compartment, and plastic ball jars (see my post here) for snacks.

My go-to lunches?

  • PB&J sandwiches
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Smoked Salmon roll-ups in a whole wheat tortilla (for one kid)
  • Leftover pancakes with pb&j
  • waffles with cream cheese and strawberries
  • apple "sandwiches" with peanut butter and raisins
  • carrots and hummus
  • mini-pita pizzas
  • overnight oatmeal
  • homemade granola
  • trail mix (we make our own)

I also adore baking, so we usually make one or two batches of muffins (or really anything that is cooked in a muffin pan) for weekly snacks. Some recipes are totally made up, some are from 100 Days of Real Food (either the blog or the book), or from my favorite cookbooks.

  • Chocolate avocado banana muffins (made up with help from the 3 year old)
  • Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins
  • Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  • Pumpkin Spice Muffins
  • Banana Raisin Muffins
  • Oatmeal chocolate chip muffins (or cookies)

  • Adding some cocoa powder or chocolate chips to *anything* makes it more appealing
  • vary the size, mini muffins or regular size
  • try to keep fruit and veggies small and cut up so kids can eat them easier
  • let your kids help you decide which items will be for lunch this week
  • almost any baked good can be frozen, then defrosted overnight in the fridge
  • mini-pizzas can be frozen (after baking), and defrost in the fridge. My kids will eat them cold!
  • vary the fruits each week (or every day)

I've written about a week of kindergarten luncheswhat I learned after 1 year of lunch packinghow to pack a zero waste lunch, and you can also check out what I packed the first week of school in first grade. So clearly, this is something I've spent  lot of time thinking about!


Products that make lunch-packing easier. As always, these affiliate links are only for products that I've already purchased and loved!

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