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Pack A Smile With These Creative School Lunch Ideas!

Are you feeling stuck in a PB & J rut already this school year? It can be tough finding new and yummy ideas to send with your kiddos to school!  Here are some creative school lunch ideas from Liz, with the iFamily Mom and Dad Squad!  Take a look…

creative school lunches

CREATIVE SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS

Make life easy on you by grocery shopping for these simple and cost effective foods.  You will have more lunch ideas that will offer your kiddos healthy, tasty and fun meals! Just choose one item from each category, make additions as desired and change it up daily. Remember, high protein foods will help your kids stay full longer. Here are just a few ideas:

Step 1

CHOOSE A MAIN COURSE

  • Grilled Chicken
  • Pasta Salad
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Sandwich
  • Quesadilla
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Tuna Salad
  • Tortilla Roll-Ups
  • Pizza Muffin

Step 2

CHOOSE A FRUIT OR VEGGIE

  • Apple Slices
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Pear Slices
  • Grapes
  • Celery Sticks
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Bananas

Step 3

CHOOSE A SNACK

  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Rice Cake
  • Crackers
  • Goldfish
  • Pretzels
  • Trail Mix
  • Applesauce

Step 4

CHOOSE A TREAT

  • Fruit Snack
  • Cookie
  • Brownie

Give your kiddos some extra smiles at lunch by cutting their food into shapes! If you are thinking this takes too much time, it will literally take you 5 seconds and most likely increase the odds of your kid actually eating their sandwich. Use cookie cutters to also jazz up fruit or cheese! If your kid isn’t into sandwiches, try skewers!  Use cupcake liners to create cute little compartments within food containers.

Take an extra minute to add a note or a joke to their lunch. This will let them know you are thinking about them and will definitely brighten their day.  If you are feeling uncreative, hop on Pinterest and find free printable jokes. Print off a bunch and have them ready to throw in.  What do you call a fake noodle? AN IMPASTA …. Come on you know you are laughing. What’s the difference between a fish and a guitar? YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH. Ok, I’ll stop, but you get the picture.

A few tips to keep you moms sane is to try freezing individual portions of rice or pasta and reheat before you pack lunch. Freeze drinks the night before and they will double as ice packs the next morning. Print out a list of lunch ideas and keep it on the fridge to stay inspired and organized.

Remember, sometimes the most important thing is packing the lunch your kids will actually eat, rather than the one you want them to eat. And if you have to do PB & J every day, that’s totally ok. They will not go hungry. Happy packing!

From iFamily to Yours,


Do You Struggle With The Question: What’s for Lunch?!

Welcome Max to the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad!  Do you ever struggle with the question ‘What’s for Lunch’?  Max is to the rescue with his answers to this question and some lunchtime solutions for you and your family!

Lunch

What’s For Lunch?

This is a question that I hear a troubling number of times in a week! You would think that this would be the easiest meal to serve, but for us it has been the Rubix Cube of meal planning. Breakfast is easy, it can be eaten at dinner time and people still call it breakfast! Dinner is easy because it is the meal that everyone gathers for and therefore receives the most attention,planning, and preparation. Lunch is the meal that has consistently caused frustration for my family, like the yellow square that just doesn’t line up no matter how many different ways you spin the Cube around. For us it has gotten to the point that we are going to peel the stickers off and put them where they belong. (I am really impressed at my ability to create the analogy of lunch and Rubix Cube!)

In the school systems attempt to make sure that all kids got to eat, they have set up a system of complacency when it comes to lunch. The least they could have done was educate me that I would not be able to pass off Bosco Sticks and broccoli as a reasonable lunch later in life.  Unless of course you are single. Which brings me to another point about lunch and the many reasons it is difficult.  If I were a single person lunch would be a breeze. However, I am married and my wife is not the biggest fan of leftovers.  As in won’t eat them, unless it something like pizza or spaghetti. This leaves me scrambling to come up with “new” meals for lunch and doubles the amount of planning and work in the kitchen. Here are my three keys to solving the Lunchix Cube followed by a list of our favorite lunch items.

Three keys to a successful workday lunch:

  1. Lunch DOES NOT need to be a meal the same way that we think about breakfast and dinner being meals. It is okay for lunch to be a series of healthy foods that are sometimes considered snacks. We like to make sure that we are still getting some proteins, veggies, and healthy fats.
  2. Lunch should not only be delicious but equally important is portability. You never know where your day might take you so it is best to not need a microwave. This is why healthy “snack” lunches is a good way to shift the mind. Don’t read this and think “Oh snack, I am going to have chips, soda, and a candy bar.” That is not delicious and therefore doesn’t follow the key. I would even caution you against “healthy” snacks if they come prepackaged.
  3. Create a list of ideal lunches. This list can be your favorite healthy “snacks” or some on the go food that you prepare on Sunday for the week. If you prepare ahead of time make sure that you portion it out for the week too or you won’t eat it because you won’t have time to prep in the morning.

Some Ideas To Get You Started:

  • Greek Spaghetti
  • Pasta Salad
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Olives
  • Bruschetta
  • Caprese Salad
  • Cheese and Salami
  • Banana Muffins
  • Bean Salad

This list is by no means exhaustive.  It’s primarily meant to get you thinking differently about lunch. All of these “meals” are delicious, can be prepared ahead of time, and only one requires a microwave meaning that they are portable. So, you can do something crazy like go eat lunch outside!

From iFamily to Yours,