Let’s be honest, 2020 has lacked a serious amount of normalcy. The start of school is going to be very different this year. August is that special month families gear up for a new school year by filling up on supplies, books and of course, lunch. Although this year most first days and weeks look a little different with the start of virtual school, some things will remain the same. Whether schooling is happening at home or in person, prepping meals for the kids is just as important as ever. With so many things that are new and unknown this year, lunch is one thing that has not gone out of style. It is important to feed the kids brain energy so that they can be successful in virtual school or in person school. Prepping lunches does not have to be complicated; in fact, it can be a little fun if you let yourself get creative. This is also an opportunity to spend some time with the kids planning for their meals and let them be a part of the process.
One of the biggest helpers to organize lunches is reusable and divided containers. This allows for portion control and putting multiple types of food together. A balanced lunch should contain fruit, vegetables, protein and some carbs to keep them full (and full of energy). Making pinwheels filled with turkey or chicken with some vegetables on the side is a great way for kids to get a protein packed meal but also something bite size to take for lunch. Precutting vegetables into sticks or bite size munchies can be prepped for the week and kept fresh by sealing in Ziplock bags or Tupperware. Fruit such as berries are easy to pack and fun to pop in your mouth. Apples turn brown before the kids get to lunch? A smart tip is to cut the apples up, put the pieces back together like a puzzle and wrap a rubber band around the apple. This keeps air from getting to the apple meat and turning them an unappetizing brown color. A few other easy snacks to throw into the lunch box are cheese sticks, pretzels and mini crackers.
Prepping lunch for the kids should have a little fun involved. Make a sandwich with a face using fruit for eyes and vegetables for a smile. Using cookie cutters turn any ordinary sandwich into a delicious work of art! Cupcake paper or silicone dividers are great to use when packing loose food such as nuts or berries. This adds some excitement to the lunch box game and encourages kids to finish their food. It’s a proven fact that people (and even tiny humans) are more inclined to finish a task/meal when there is fun involved. If your child is of age, packing a “build your own meal” can give them a little sense of independence. Packing all the ingredients to make mini pizzas based on cut tortillas can make lunch time assembly more fun. Plus, what kid wouldn’t have fun telling their friends they get to make pizza for lunch? It’s all about simple and healthy ingredients to make lunch time the best time.
Don’t forget the most important part of a packed lunch; a note that says how much you love them!