Last year, my oldest daughter began pre-K. Along with the fear of my babies growing up came the cafeteria food fear. I knew I would have to come up with a plan on how to make their lunches fun and healthy. I got some ideas from lunchinabox.net, but lets face it, I’m not that talented. However, I knew that I could set some time aside to make her lunch every morning. Fast forward to this August, when both girls began attending elementary school. Yikes! I’d have two lunches to make now.
Now, mind you, their lunches are fairly simple. They usually consist of one protein: boiled egg, ham, turkey, cheese or peanut butter. Carbs are usually bread, pretzels, crackers and fruit. I’ll surprise them with an Oreo once in a while. They are kids after all! But the most fun is the fresh fruits and vegetables.
The girls love grapes, strawberries, pineapples, apples, watermelons or cantaloupe in their lunches. And I love seeing them “eat their colors”. It wouldn’t be strange to see me cutting up a pineapple at 5 am to pack in their lunches. But once it’s cut, I put it in little Ziploc bags for the rest of the week. The same goes for the watermelons or cantaloupe. Grapes and strawberries are the easiest because you can just grab and go. If you are worried about the apples browning, just drizzle some lime juice over them to prevent browning.
The girls definitively have their favorites. Zoe loves grape tomatoes. Piper loves cucumbers. I’ll try to sneak other veggies in their lunch box like carrots or broccoli. It doesn’t always work, but at least they’ll try a few. For me, it really comes down to introducing your kids to different foods and allowing them to make some choices.
As Zoe gets older, she wants to be like her other friends who buy their school lunch in the cafeteria. We’ve compromised and allowed her to buy her lunch on Fridays if she gets green marks all week. So far, even on her own, she tends to choose the “healthy items”. And that is why I make her lunch every day. I enjoy teaching her about a healthy lifestyle.
I recently came across lunchboxblues. It's about a dad who refuses to pack Lunchables for his son's lunch. Check it out for more ideas! That's my next goal, if I can only figure out how to keep their food warm until lunch.
Do you or did you make your kids lunches?