School is just around the corner. Time to start thinking routines, homework and lunches! Here are a few tips for making school lunches fun, easy and healthy. Feel free share your own tips in the comments below.
1. Plan 2 weeks ahead.
Plan their lunches so that you always have what you need on hand and never have to scramble for ideas or items. Canadian Family has a free downloadable lunch plan template to get your started.
2. Freeze it!
Add a little fun to lunchboxes with frozen juice boxes or yogurt. The frozen item acts like an ice pack, and by lunch time the juice or yogurt will be slushy and soft, and ready to eat as a refreshing treat.
Sandwiches can also be frozen and nothing is easier on those busy school nights than grabbing one of these to add to the lunchbox. Some fillings work better than others; visit Lunch in a Box to see a list of fillings that freeze well.
3. Have them build their own sandwich.
Include all the sandwich fixings and let your child assemble their sandwich at lunchtime. Gives them a chance to make a sandwich just the way they want.
4. Chop veggies for the whole week.
While prepping for Sunday night dinner, wash and chop all the veggies you will need for a week. Throughout the week, simply grab a handful of carrots or celery and throw them in their lunchbox.
5. Shape your sandwich
Use large cookie cutters or sandwich specific cutters to change a regular sandwich into a fun shape. Lunchpunches come in a variety of shapes these can be purchased locally (Edmonton AB) at Princess and the Pea. Or check out your local Dollarama for basic heart and dinosaur shaped cutters.
6. Let the kids help
Involving your kids in grocery shopping and lunch prep is a perfect opportunity to teach your children about a balanced diet and portion sizes. Have a variety of carbs, fruits, veggies, proteins, and dairy options then let them pick one from each category. wendolonia.com has a ready to print list of lunch ideas for each of these categories.
Kids love to dip. Use yogurt, hummus or salad dressing as dips for fruit and veggies.
8. Mix up the ordinary.
There are many ways to add a little fun surprise to lunches. Kids are more likely to try something they don't typically like when it's presented in a new way. One of my favourites are these cute egg molds. Take a hard boiled egg, peel, place into the egg mold and let set in a bowl of ice cold water. Click here for detailed instructions. You can usually find these in Asian food stores, eBay or Bento&Co.
Another fun and very simple variation to the normal is an Aussie Apple. It's almost like 3D apple puzzle. Simple to do but and fun for kids to eat. Learn how to cut an Aussie Apple here. Another Lunch website has loads of fun lunch ideas.
9. Bento box it up!
One of the reasons I love Yubo
lunchboxes is because they can be used just like a bento box. Bento
lunches are known for fun and unique food presentation. Some can be very
elaborate, but you don’t have to get fancy to add a little fun to a
regular lunch. I've collected a selection of Bento images on Pinterest, click here to see them all. Above photo by Wendolonia.com
10. Do some research.
I am amazed by the number of websites and books that are specifically about packing lunches! One of my favourite websites is Wendolonia.com There you can find oodles of bento lunch photos, recipes, and fun instructions – and tips and suggestions that can easily be included in your weekly routine.