‘What’s For Lunch?’
I’m grateful to be able to have food to pack my kids a lunch.
I was also grateful to have had a break from the daily task for such a time as the last 6 months.
There’s something about trying to come up with an appropriately balanced and healthy lunch everyday for them that they won’t get bored of, throw out, let go bad (even with an icepack) or simply not eat.
There were never ice packs in anyone’s lunches when I was little. You got a bologna or cheese and pickle sandwich to eat at room temperature, an apple or an orange, maybe a Dad’s oatmeal cookie or a Wagon Wheel and if you were lucky, a drink box.
I don’t remember ever being asked what I wanted in my lunch or being taken to look for items I would choose…and I wasn’t sad about that. It was what it was and school lunches were the last on my care list.
These days, whether it’s now knowing that bologna is not a great option to have in your system on the daily (or ever) or that it’s good to keep food at a food-safe temperature, sometimes the daily routine of coming up with ideas that are interesting and nutritious can be a job in itself.
I’ve gone back and forth over the years with either putting a lot of time into prepping food in advance and making homemade items or buying pre-packaged stuff because the hours in a day and my personal energy does not always permit a from-scratch fresh organic muffin.
After 15 years of having a kid in daycare or school, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just need to choose the middle road and chill.
With Costco bringing in more natural and organic options, there’s now a better and less costly balance of packaged foods and handmade with love foods in the boy’s lunches.
Here are some of my and their favourites: (yes, with some options being straight up junk)…
- Small pre-made oatmeal jars. Organic oatmeal, coconut milk, cinnamon, seeds, blueberries and a touch of honey. Now that Braden is in a school where he can have nuts and seeds, he is pumped to have these and trail mix in his lunch.
- Miss Vickies multi-variety kettle chips. They prefer the sweet chili and sour cream kind so I usually end up with the left over kinds that they ‘have’ to eat. I’ve tried the big bag and portioning it but reality has brought me to the conclusion that they end of going bad. As much as I love the environment, there’s something in a package and I have to pick my battles.
- Mini hummus and cracker packs.
- Homemade dehydrated apple chips.
- Mott’s sugar-free fruit sauces.
- Nitrite-free pepperoni sticks and sausages.
- Colourless Koolaid drink pouches (once in a while).
- Carrot sticks and other cut up veg and fruit.
- Cheese and crackers
- A sandwich (yes…sigh…on a white bun)
- Soup, pasta or chili in a thermos
- Homemade chocolate chip cookies
- Individually packaged animal crackers (same issue as with the chips)
- aaaannnddddd leftovers.
Got any favourite go-tos? I’m all ears!