Pack a punch with your school Lunch
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
The kids are back to school yay!!
Some sense of normal returns, just as we were beginning to forget what it was like to have a quiet and calm house for at least a part of the day.
For me it's the first time in 5 years that there hasn’t been at least one child in the house but now with Eila in Montessori and Erin starting ‘big school’ I now have that moment of zen for me before I start work from my bedroom / office and it's glorious.
However it's more needed than ever now after the chaotic hour of getting two girls ready each morning, brushing knotty hair, looking for school shoes under the couch, getting kids dressed and getting breakfast while the clock ticks down.
The bangles song Manic Monday should have been about a Mum or Dad getting kids to school rather than a 20 something trying to figure what to wear to work.
I started thinking about ways to minimise the stress of school mornings. I even thought about platting the girls hair the night before but that didn’t work as they looked like they had stuck their fingers in an electric socket by the morning and I had to start all over again.
Having them sleep in their school uniform was also a non-starter. But when it came to school lunches I found a couple of useful hacks that worked great. Here are some I wanted to share with you in order to lessen the workload each morning.
Freeze the sandwiches - Regardless of whether your child likes ham and cheese or tuna sandwiches you can make a batch on a sunday and put them in the freezer for the week. By the time your child puts it in their lunchbox in the morning and takes it out at lunchtime the sandwich will have completely defrosted and will be more fresh than sandwiches that are made fresh that morning.
Freeze the drinks - The same thing goes for the juice drink box and they also keep the rest of the luck chilled and fresh. You can do the samSame thing can be done with your tubes!
Buy the giant bags of crisps or trail mix rather than the individual bags. They are the most cost efficient and use less packaging than individual packets. You can then use a ziplock bag (that can be reused everyday). You should then make sure to trap plenty of air in the bag to stop the crisps becoming crisp dust by the time it's lunchtime. Nuts are great, but most schools have a no nuts policy.
Instead of buying more plastic lunch boxes I use the plastic containers from the Friday night treat takeaway, some fairy cake liners and fill them with a variety of snacks.
I’m not sure where my eldest got her dislike of sandwich crusts but it's a fight for another day. I kept getting asked to cut the crusts off and when I didn’t they inevitably ended up back in the lunchbox at the end of the day. So now I use baking shapes to make the sandwiches even more appealing. It makes lunch a little more exciting too. I always use wholemeal bread which is much healthier than white and loosing the crusts and making the sandwich less obvious can help make a white bread eating child into a whole bread eating child.
Involve the kids in what goes into the lunch. I have bigger containers in the fridge with grapes, mini carrots, cucumber sticks, blueberries etc and I let the girls pick their own each day and put them into their makeshift lunchbox (see point 4) and they decide their own tapas style lunch while I search for that missing school shoe! I really think that if they choose their own food they are more likely to eat it.
A friend of mine told me that she writes a little note on her childs banana skin with a toothpick whenever she puts one in her lunchbox. My Erin and Eila are a little too young but I did the same principle to draw a little smiley face on the skin and they absolutely loved it and now they ask for a smiley banana everyday!
Make fruit kebabs. I sometimes freeze mini fruit kebabs for the school lunch. Any food on a stick seems to be an adventure for my girls. I mainly use blueberries, strawberries, pieces of pineapple, kiwi, grapes, melon and for a treat some mini marshmallows. They both love them and I call it an eerie treat and they regard it as just that.