I can’t believe we have to start thinking about school…with such mild weather here in Seattle, it didn’t ‘feel’ like summer at all! My next few posts will be all about Back To School — and speaking of which, the back to the lunch grindstone.
Getting up every morning and making sandwiches again is so not on my list of things I like to do. But over the years, I’ve learned a few ideas to make lunch special and break the monotony.
START WITH A FUN LUNCH CONTAINER
Teach a lesson in earth-friendly fabness with a rockin’ lunchbox and reusable accessories. We use bento systems like Laptop Lunches and similar ones can be found at specialty stores like The Container Store. Don’t forget big box stores carry divided lunch containers in the storage department.
If little plastic containers aren’t your child’s thing, how about reusable sandwich and snack bags? LunchSkins are a high-quality alternative to plastic baggies and are made from food-safe materials.
We eat with our eyes and kids are no different, so make this your first step in making lunch more appealing!
I never tire of Alphamom’s free fruit tag and lunchbox note printables, I’ve used them both! It’s a great way to send a little love. Get your little one inspired to eat their fruit or send an encouraging note to an older child who may have a tough test to get through that day.
Little Lovely has free sandwich wraps to make even a PB&J sandwich lunch fabulous.
LEFTOVERS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Make those dinner leftovers do double duty the next day! In the colder months, we eat a lot of chili, so I always set some aside for the next day. I fill a thermos then add little containers of shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and lettuce. Voila, taco salad! Cook extra chicken, slice it up, and with lettuce, croutons and dressing containers, a little chicken salad is born. My kids are big fans of any meals they can assemble, plus they can help pack their lunch containers the night before.
MAKE FOOD MORE FUN!
Make sandwich and cookie cutters your friend. There are so many fun options like this puzzle cutter from Perpetual Kid to turn sandwiches into interactive munchies. Use a flower cutter to make fun shapes from thinly sliced food like cheese, meat and soft fruit like watermelon and cantaloupe.
Break out of the sandwich bread rut with options like tortillas, pita bread and mini bagels. I love these fun pinwheels from Kate McMillian for Pottery Barn Kids. Mix and match your child’s favorite toppings and roll them up in a tortilla shell. How about a pocketful of rulers a.k.a. fresh veggies from FamilyFun, what kid could resist?
For the final touch, add a dash of color with printed napkins and cutlery. I like to add a fun paper napkin to my boys’ lunches; I’m always scooping up patterned ones from the dollar store or using leftovers from a recent party. If you have sewing skills, make some with colorful fabric. Search the clearance section for cheap finds on plastic cutlery. It’s a small and unexpected way to put a smile on your child’s face.
Remember, you don’t have to use these ideas everyday, but a few here and there can make lunch a little more exciting without a lot of work.