Tuesday, August 30, 2011

{Let's Talk Lunch}

I get a lot of emails asking for ideas for kids lunches. Now that most of us who have school going kids have started doing the whole pack-your-kids-lunch-every-single-day thing going on I thought I would answer what I do, give some ideas and hopefully get some awesome ideas from you!Here's my oh so organized drawer of lunch tools. The bento boxes that I have and some of the tools were being washed when I took this picture so it's even more disheveled than this if you can believe it!

I find that my kids will eat something new or eat better if the food looks colorful and fun. Putting food in animal shaped cups or mini silicone holders always gets a smile and the food eaten around here.Using cookie cutters to cut a PB&J or turkey and cheese sandwich instantly makes it so much better.

My kids love it when I cut their quesadillas into little people. There's just something about biting off the head that makes it taste better. I cut the excess parts of the quesadilla into smaller pieces and make it "grass" or "sand" the people can stand on.I like to search online via Pinterest and blogs that give me lunch ideas. Use words in your search like "bento lunches" and you'll find plenty of ideas and inspiration.

Some of the favorite school lunches my kids enjoy (I always include a yogurt, drink and fruit/veg):

*Quesadilla people with pizza sauce for dipping (pizza sauce in a cute little animal case)

*pot stickers and soy sauce (again it's all about the sauce containers :D)

*Tortellini on toothpicks (pictured above) and pizza sauce to dip

*PB&J or Turkey and Cheese cut with cookie cutters, grapes and yogurt to dip

*Fruit and cheese cube skewers (using toothpicks)

*Rice cakes and peanut butter

*Breakfast for lunch - waffle strips and syrup for dipping

*Hard boiled egg shaped into something fun using an egg mold.

*Popcorn, cheese sticks/cubes and apple slices

*Turkey and cream cheese pinwheels

Those are some that I can think of at the moment. I've been meaning to actually type up a list and have it handy in the kitchen but haven't gotten around to it yet.

I should mention that a lot of times what I make for them that morning has a lot to do with what we had for dinner the night before. If we had Tortellini then I know that's what will be in their lunchbox that day.

Also, if I'm making quesadillas for school going kids I make enough quesadillas for the kids at home as well at the same time so I don't have to worry about making them at lunch. I just reheat cut with cookie cutters or into strips and give ketchup or pizza sauce to dip.

On Fridays if Ella does all her homework on time and has read for 45 minutes every day she can get pizza (ice cream/frozen yogurt and milk as well) at school on Fridays. It gives me a day during the week where I don't have to worry about making a lunch and it's fun for her.

I really do try and keep it fun for the kids but simple for me. Just try and think out of the box and look for inspiration online or from other mom's you talk to.

Speaking of inspiration...I'd love to get some new and fresh ideas so please feel free to share yours with me!


Zoe and Dustin said...

Thank you so much for your ideas! My daughter just started first grade, and so it's my first time with the whole packed lunch thing. I am sure she will be ecstatic for me to use your ideas so that she doesn't open her lunchbox to the same thing every day.

{natalie} said...

I was going to do a post on lunches sometime too. I've been snapping a few photo every couple days of kade's lunch. Do your kids mind eating cold quesadillas and tortellini or is it hot somehow? That is the only thing I don't like is that kade's lunch is usually all cold stuff

Meg said...

Chicken drummies- mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese (the crumbly shake kind), and favorite seasings (italian for us) to coat chicken drumsticks and bake @400 for about 30 minutes (covered with foil) until done. My kids will eat these drumsticks (drummies) cold. My friend saves the 100 ketchup and taco sauce packets she gets every time they get fast food, and tosses them into lunches.
Those little bear/strawberry/animal shaped dip containers are sooo cute! Do you ahve a link? It looks like the lids are attached to some. Wouldn't that be brilliant!

My kids like the combo of yogurt covered raisins (the white ones) and pretzel sticks and we all love the white chocolate peanut butter dip (there's a monkey on the package...I can't think of the brand...it's by the nutella) with great value (walmart) honey wheat pretzel twists. Yummy!

another fave for Reese are cream cheese and turkey on tiny bagels.

My sister uses an apple wedge slicer, then puts the apple back together around the core and wraps it in press and seal saran wrap. No brown edges!

We like lil' smokies baked in pillsbury rolls (1/2 roll for each smokie) for tiny pigs in a blanket.

Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

I love hearing other people's lunch ideas. I think I get stuck in lunch ruts just like I get stuck in dinner ruts. I'll just go with what I know they like and what's fast and easy. I do a lot of sandwiches cut out with different cutters, bagel sandwiches, homemade muffins, or lunchables that I make (meat, cheese, crackers) always with fruit and/or vegetables a drink and a small treat.

I love that you do so many sauces. I rarely do since I'm worried about them leaking. Does Mailee take a lunch? Does she have all-day kindergarten?

Love the great ideas!

Leilani G said...

Carrots and hummus, turkey roll (slice of turkey lunch meat with cheese and spinach or lettuce and then rolled, sometimes rolled in a tortilla), cottage cheese with fruit and carrots, apple slices with almond butter or peanut butter (no pb at school though-they have a no peanuts or pb rule), tuna or egg salad sandwiches; fruit and carrots are served with everything

Stephanie said...

Yay for new lunch ideas!

I do a lot of the same things you do. I love the bento stuff. :-)

My kid's favorites so far this school year are cucumber slices, (Which seem to taste even better if I peel stripes into the cucumber before I slice it up,) as well as plain spinach w/ some dressing in a sauce container, strawberries on toothpicks with plain yogurt to dip in, and pinwheels but with cream cheese and shredded carrots or cucumbers or sometimes strawberries. My kids are not big meat eaters so I really struggle with the protein part sometimes.