We’re back to school! Notice I say “we”, because as every parent knows, school is as much work for the parents as it is for the kids.
Parents everywhere figuratively pull their hair out each morning trying to come up with ideas that appeal to their sprogs, foods that are relatively easy to prepare, and preferably do not take too much time of our already cramped mornings. It isn’t the first time we write about this, but we’d like to give you some more ideas in time to ship your kids back to school.
I love those fancy bento boxes we’ve all seen all over the intertubes, but frankly, I’d prefer if we kept this to a more realistic proposition, because it’s not like I’d like to wake up an hour earlier to carve panda bears and cartoon characters into my child’s food.
I hope this doesn’t lower your opinion of me or my mothering skills.
Easy Back to School Lunch and Snack Ideas
Item number one in your list should always be fruits. Not only do they provide your child with vital nutrition, they are also a good source of energy. Some ideas for a serving of fruits: You can pack a fruit salad (like in the picture), or an apple, or pears, nectarines, peaches, some grapes, etc. Try and aim for fruits they can eat with their fingers, after all they are in a rush to return to the important task of playing with their friends during recess!
Dairy is a must, children need to have their calcium needs met each day, those little bones and cute teeth don’t just come out of anywhere. You can choose a serving of milk, yoghurt, or cheese, or if your child keeps to a vegan diet, or dairy doesn’t sit well with her, you can send her off with a healthy portion of almond milk.
It’s also good to add a more substantial item that contains a serving of protein. A sandwich is an old-time favorite, and should you have the time or inclination, you can use cookie cutters to make them into cute shapes. Or not. I usually use chicken sausages (preferably nitrite-free), or turkey ham as an option.
I remember my mom packing hard-boiled eggs for me as a child, which I thought was decidedly uncool, though I still ate them. For my own daughter I sometimes pack quail eggs, just because they are cute and can be eaten in just one bite.
If your child can keep their lunch refrigerated or cool (a good lunch box with an ice pack helps), a tuna or chicken salad sandwich is a great way to recycle leftovers the next morning.
Don’t forget to add a portion of carbohydrates, and here the choices are legion: bread, crackers, grissini (breadstick), a small portion of rice, or heck, even some mangú or boiled ripe plantains.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to try to stick to what you know your child likes, and gently introduce them to new flavors. You want them to eat healthy, but you don’t want uneaten lunches coming back home.
This conversation is sponsored by Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.