It's school time once again. Like most moms, I pack my kids' lunches on a pretty regular basis. Also like most moms, sometimes I get stuck in a rut with what to pack.
It was last night that I came up with the idea of creating a menu with a list of items for the kids to choose from.
You of course could start with sandwiches (or main dish). Give 3 or 4 things to choose from - something like PB & J, cold cuts on a mini sub bun, etc. You could even offer something like soup, spaghetti-O's, or ravioli in a thermos on those chilly fall and winter days! The less picky your kids are, the more fun that could be.
Next you have your "sides" - cut up veggies, a bowl of fruit, yogurt, granola bars....something healthy!!
Beverages - have a couple different flavors of juice, milk, water - whatever your child can transport to school really. I saw a cool no-spill cup in this month's Family Fun magazine that has a button that you push to open the drinking area, and when the button is released (supposedly) there are no leaks/spills. It's called the Autoseal Kids Mug and can be found here.
Of course, no lunch would be complete without a small dessert or treat. Of course, your typical Little Debbies or Hostess items work here, but I know my kids also love the mini candy bars. It doesn't have to be anything big, just a little sweet treat to finish off the meal. If your child can't have or doesn't like sweets, a baggie of pretzels or trail mix might be a great idea too!
The night before, give your child the menu, and have him/her check off the items he/she would like you to pack in his/her lunch. Of course, be sure to remind your child that he/she is only allowed to pick ONE item from each category...otherwise if your kids are like mine, you'll get an order for 3 desserts and a chocolate milk!!
You could get really fancy and make a few laminated menus, and your child could use a dry-erase marker to mark his/her selections (that way you could wipe it clean for the next day)....or you could just use a sheet of notebook paper.
Here's a sample of what you could do:
- Peanut Butter and Jelly on Wheat
- Turkey & Cheese on Mini-Sub Bun
- Graham Cracker and Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Apple Slices
- Ants on a log (Celery with peanut butter or cream cheese with raisins on top)
- Fruit Cup
- Granola Bar
- Apple Juice
- Swiss Cake Rolls
- Trail Mix
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
Of course, tailor this to your child's likes/dislikes, and make sure your portion sizes are appropriate for his/her age. Try to change up your menu items now and then to help keep your child from getting bored with the "same old, same old" as well.
Hope this idea is helpful to any of you who have school-age children!!