Mom-Tested Ways to Master Sack Lunch
For many of us, school will start again in just a short while. And between the buying of new crayons, markers, backpacks, and clothes, we will also have to start thinking about SCHOOL LUNCH.
School lunch seems so easy, in theory. But it is a tricky, tricky meal. Eat at school? Eat a sack lunch? Pick the right things and the kiddos clean their plate. Pick wrong and half the lunch ends up in the trash. The worst part? You have no way of knowing for sure what is going on, because you have to to rely on what your kiddos are telling you.
As a mom who exclusively packs their kiddo’s lunches, I’ve learned a few tips along the way about packing an awesome school lunch.
1. Invest in good lunch equipment. Before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about bento boxes. I’m talking about leak-proof small containers for fruits/dips, sandwich containers, a good stainless-steel thermos, silverware, etc. Having a good arsenal of equipment allows you to try new and different recipes without having to worry the lunch will explode all over your kid’s lunchbox.
2. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Nothing will have your kid begging for school lunch (or a Lunchable, for that matter) then packing the same…thing…every…single…day. Sure, your kids love that brand name crunchy granola bar. After a month of the same bar, not so much. It’s okay to try new things or rotate favorites in and out of the schedule. Plus, you don’t want to be the reason why your kid will never eat ham again (true story).
3. Don’t worry about being the most creative, worry about your kid eating. Pinterest is great for ideas, but if your kiddo isn’t eating lunch, who cares if your carrots and celery created a sculpted tree of life. It’s about eating…not about winning awards.
4. Look at old standbys with a twist. Our kids love peanut butter and jelly, but too much peanut butter and jelly will create burnout. So we take a extra few seconds and make peanut butter and jelly roll-ups. Same ingredients…new lunch item.
5. Sack lunch does not mean cold lunch (see above about good equipment). Remember the thermos? It was standard in my lunchbox, filled with ice cold water, warm soup, or hot chocolate. Kids love to have warm options too for their sack lunches…soups, spaghetti and meatballs, noodle soup, chicken and rice or other options are great and easy ideas.
6. Embrace the freezer. Most kids who sack their lunch are not able to put anything in a refrigerator. And if your kiddo is one of the last classes to go to lunch, that can mean some pretty room temperature yogurt, cheese or drinks. We freeze sandwiches, yogurts, chips, cheese and other items to make sure they are cold when our kids are eating their lunch. Plus, it allows easy prep because we can put everything together on the weekend and pull it out during the week.
7. Make it easy. If planning, making and packing sack lunches becomes a pain, you are less likely to continue. Find five to seven great recipes for main entrees and supplement with pre-packaged items. Here is my list of school lunch ideas with ingredients from Aldi. The goals is to create a healthy lunch that your child will eat and you will be able to pack.
What about you? Do you have any tips or tricks to mastering the sack lunch? Leave a comment and let us know.