"Sack Pack Pro"
In less than a month, most of our kids will be back at school for the first day of a new school year. Can you believe it? Summer is flying! While many eat lunch at school, the number is growing for those who bring their lunch. My kids have a peanut allergy and has been one of the main reasons why I began packing lunches. It started with the basic sandwich and chips or the occasional lazy toss of the lunchable before feeling like there had to be more to this packed lunch fiasco. I wasn't feeling confident in the nutrients and variety I was providing. They might as well have been eating the mystery meatloaf at school ha, ha!! There's no mystery meatloaf now, but back in my day (sounding old), there was. I knew I wanted to create great lunches as energy support and raise the probability of my picky eater finishing all of his food.
I first started with bento boxes; which worked for some things but I've always deemed unnecessarily expensive. I even tried providing cold foods (like nuggets and nachos) similar to what you get in a lunchable thinking they would eat it simply because it was modeled after the famous lunch pack; nope. My son will still eat a cold lunchable nugget but won't touch a cold homemade or Chic-fil-a nugget...somebody explain this! I think lunchables make profits from their name alone, ha, ha! *takes notes..." I need to be that bankable, lol"*
This is when I realized creativity and a streamlined process would be my guide. Can you still purchase items premade? Yes! Pro tip: Do yourself a favor and pack the night before!
How are you packing?!
The type of lunch bag/box you purchase will determined a lot of aspects in the process. Choose a box big enough to house a boxed lunchable and a small plastic one on top. Crazy measurements, right?! This will ensure you can fit ANY variation in the bag. Example: If you run out of juice boxes last minute, you are able to fit water bottle inside easily. Reducing the risk of it getting lost or separated before lunch time. Choose a lunchbox that is insulated and has an extra (and detachable) lining, if possible. Purchase a durable thermos set, divided containers, plasticware, napkins (they are rarely provided for kids who bring their lunch), sauce cups and small yet tall containers to house items that have juice, like fruit are going to save lunch every time.
Bonus: Getting a great lunch bag and thermos can be costly. Your time to shine is directly after school has begun. Yes, grab a set of what you need prior to but prepare to grab in abundance about 3 weeks or so after school has started. Retailers like Target mark these items down to nothing ( I'm talking 70% off) and grabbing a ton of them as back ups, for the next year and even travel is the way to go! Stocking up is planning ahead!
What are you packing?
Soups, pastas, charcuterie, roll-ups , salad (with or without protein), kabobs and shrimp are great options in addition to sandwiches. For sandwiches, instead of sliced bread, mix it up and try ciabatta rolls, pita pockets, spinach wraps, hoagies and toasted naan!
Hummus, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, fruit cus, veggie medley with dipping sauce, fruit snacks, trail mix, yogurt, avocado salad, chips, applesauce, granola bars etc.
If you're limited on time or simply choosing easy street for a change, stop by prepared foods at your grocery store and grab a few items. You can have sandwiches made at the deli (meat and cheese only! no condiments, no toppings); divided and cut. This will give you two free days to skip past the entree puzzle! My daughter loves the Italian subs (prepackage) and the boars head power bowls... and when I'm tired, I love it for her, ha, ha!!
Now is the beginning of many grocery stores' back-to-school "stock up" promotions. Be sure to grab a little each week. You'll be extremely happy you did! Publix here in Atlanta has BOGO free each week. They have already begun adding school supplies and lunch bag staples. Start stockpiling now!
Younger children eat breakfast (at home or school), lunch, snack and an after school snack (if they stay for longer hours) before getting home each day...plan for all of it.
I'll be sending a trail mix recipe in the "Sunday Note" in a couple of weeks that is perfect for snack and a hit with my kids (and everyone else).
Proper packing supplies are your biggest key to successfully executing trade-worthy lunches! Stock up, plan ahead and get creative. Don't leave out a reminder of love for an afternoon boost and a dollar for ice cream on Fridays! *Add sharpies and/or sticky notes to the supply list*
Have a great week family!