(the dreaded) Back to School Lunches -

Sunday, August 26, 2012

We are just one week away from school starting...
This year, we have not one kiddo in school, but two!

YAY! We are all soo very excited for this chapter in life....but one thing I am NOT excited about ~ is school lunch. I'm not excited about the idea of hot lunch, which isn't all that great and isn't all that cheap.  And I'm even less excited about COLD lunches, and packing them.

I'm no stranger to packing lunch for these kiddos. We did it all summer long.
The thing is, I do not enjoy packing cold lunch for the kids. (& how do you keep them 'cold' anyway???)

Add in the fact that we have one super picky eater, & that complicates things even further...

Healthy Eating Goals for Back to School Lunches

So, with the school year lurking just around the corner it is important to make a plan and set a few goals...& I'm thinking of healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that my kiddos will actually enjoy.

Is this a challenge for other parents or have I done this to myself allowing our daughter to have my same picky eating habits?

Our daughter would rather eat dirt than fruit, or vegetables, or meat, or.............

So I struggle with what to put in her lunch. If I only pack 'healthy choices' such as grapes, carrots, or strawberries, she won't eat them. It's a long day for a kiddo to have nothing to eat. She has to have SOMETHING, so I pack what I know she'll eat.  Don't get me wrong...it's not all Oreos, Doritos, & fruit snacks...
but it is a lot of peanut butter, crackers, and tortilla shells.

Joan Hanson, the test kitchen director for Hormel Foods, is an expert in new recipe development & she shares some quick tips about healthy lunches, check out this article.

A few additional tips shared with me, that will help in the process of creating successful, healthy school lunches not just in the month of August, but all year long:

~ Veggie sticks are always a great addition to a packed lunch. To add a bit more excitement, send a small container of hummus to dip vegetables in. For a fresh, healthful addition, try new Peloponnese® hummus spread.
~ Dried fruit and nuts are a great alternative to a bag of chips or cookies. Toss a variety of nuts together with raisins or other dried fruits and make a homemade trail mix.
~ Throw in some whole grain cereal for extra crunch. Let your child pick out their favorites and create the snack themselves.
~ Many families are reluctant to send their child to school with sandwiches packed with deli meats because of the fear of added nitrates and preservatives. Luckily the Hormel® Natural Choice® line of deli meats is 100% natural meat with zero preservatives, no added nitrites or nitrates and no MSG. These meats are also gluten free! Ditch the bread and make roll-ups using your choice of deli meat.
~ Make water your child’s best friend, as water is one of the most important nutrients for a growing body. Staying hydrated not only helps with physical performance, but mental as well, keeping your child on top of things in the classroom.

What are your tips for packing school lunch?

Do you set a meal plan for the school year? Is it monthly, weekly or daily?

Are there certain items that you always include in their children’s’ lunches? (like a PB&J sammie every.day.of.the.week!! like we do?)

What are the biggest challenges you face when packing school lunches?

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*** I am a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger - I am occasionally given coupons to try Hormel products or given the products themselves.  The thoughts & opinions shared in this post are my own.  ***


Anonymous said...

We have packed Boo's lunch every night since Boo was in 1st grade. It is cheaper and to me healthier then school lunches.

Giving Boo the control of her lunch has made a huge difference in how she and we look at lunches. We have rules: 1 protien, 1 fruit, 1 veggie and one snacky item. Otherwise, she has a very few limits. Sandwhich wraps, veggies and dips, chips and salsa. She loves to try new things, make it more fun.

MommyLisa said...

I got packit lunch bags to use - kept water cool all day at the fair Monday. And I ordered a personalized thermos on cafe press for mac n cheese or Annie's organic spaghettio's or leftover spaghetti or chicken noodle soup. ;)

MommyLisa said...

Oh and my friend suggested making banana bread, pumpkin bread, or zucchini bread and packing THAT instead of PBJ sometimes. Boo Boo La La loved my chocolate zucchini bread.

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darcie said...

I should really look into those thermos' that can keep stuff warm for her...I can't imagine eating a PB&J five days a week for 2/3 of the year...but she does it!!

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