Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School Lunch Tips

You've likely prepared hundreds of lunches over the years. If you just can't bear to pack another PB&J,use these tips to plan for a year of fun and nutritious school lunches that your child WON'T want to trade!

* Plan Ahead
It's tempting too revert to packaged junk food or boring lunches when
your short on time. Planning ahead will help you feel better about what
your children are eating.

* Involve the Kids
Children are more likely to eat what they've prepared.
Discuss a lunch menu, new try new recipes and fun ideas.
Add these items to the grocery list.

* Taste Test
Trying new foods is important, but a school lunch is not the time
to pack foods which have yet to pass your child's taste test. Try new things at home first and keep of list of favorites.

* Get Organized
Once the menu items are purchased spend some time on early
preparation; grate cheese, wash fruits and vegetables, prepare
snack mixes, and dips, cut grapes into clusters, place juice boxes in
the freezer etc. this will take about an hour of your weekend,
but will save so much time during the week!

* Storage Issues
Who has time in the morning to rush around looking for plastic containers, not to mention a matching lid (always an issue in our house).
Before the school year begins, treat yourself to a new set of
plastic lunch containers. Store them where the kids can reach,
with zip-top bags, lunch bags, thermoses, wood craft sticks for
spreading, plastic spoons, forks, napkins and straws. Every so often
check to see if it's time to re-stock or even better ask the kids.

* EWW, Gross mom!
Keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold and sandwiches from getting soggy. Purchase and use thermoses for their intended purpose. Freeze juice pouches and boxes, they'll help keep things cold. I place frozen juice boxes in a plastic bag to avoid condensation moisture. Pack lettuce and tomato separately to be added to sandwiches when they're ready to eat. Save or purchase ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard pouches to add to sandwiches at school (too hard for little ones).

* No More Brown Apples
Keep a small water spray bottle filled with lemon juice and water
in the 'fridge. Spray the cut apples before packing.

* Make If Fun When
When you include the items below in your back to school shopping, you'll be prepared
to make a fun lunch every day!

-Large set of kid's cookie cutters; animal shapes, holidays, letters etc.
-Stickers, stickers and more stickers. Pick up the packages that are on
sale for use throughout the year.
-Check out your party supply store for discontinued packs of napkins
on sale. Select favorite characters, themes and holidays.

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