We have all been there. Woke up late, lunches not packed the night before and kids moving slower than usual (or not at all!). Add in making the lunches allergy friendly for the school environment and this leaves you wishing for some creative last minute ideas for the lunchbox.
So far we feel like we have been pretty capable and confident in managing school lunches with both my husband and I taking turns to prepare. My best advice for managing school lunches is to be prepared, think simple and strive for balance.
My goal for lunch is to include some items from at least four of the five following categories: starch, protein, vegetables, fruit and dairy.
The combination doesn’t matter but every lunch has at least 4 out of 5.
Lunch options include leftovers from dinner in a thermos (Transformers) or leftovers repurposed as a wrap or sandwich or salad. When there are not any leftovers then we try to have some quick to grab options available. These include:
- Cheese + crackers + fruit +veg,
- Sunflower butter wraps/sandwiches + fruit + veg,
- Naan + Hummus + fruit + veg
There have even been times when our oldest has gone to school with something from the freezer; homemade frozen waffles served with greek yogurt topped with a mix of seeds (hemp hearts, chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower) or fruit. Most often we have washed and cut veggies in a veggie bucket ready for school lunches or a side for dinner in the fridge. We prepare this each week after groceries.
I will also admit I rarely prepare alone. I am very fortunate to have a couple amazing girlfriends with children in kindergarten also. Getting together with a friend to batch cook has been great to getting prepared. Most recently just at the end of Christmas holidays was our latest endeavour.
This activity day took place at one of my girlfriends where we each picked 2-3 recipes and brought our ingredients. We set out to prepare five recipes to restock our freezer with the help of our two oldest 4 year olds and my infant (the other two were in daycare…yeah!).
Friend Prep & Bake Days are always a huge success and we now have some ready made, school safe items in our freezers for snacks and last minute lunches!
Pizza Bread (school safe)
– We made the first batch with pepperoni & mozzarella and the second batch with ham & swiss cheese
Cinnamon Apple Bars (school safe)
Pumpkin Oatmeal Anytime Squares (school safe)
Scrambled Egg Muffins (school safe and quick breakfast)
Apple Breakfast Cookie (quick breakfast)
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Jessica Ferris, RD.