|my happy guy with his new lunchbox and a seriously loose tooth!|
something new in our routine this school year? packing lunches. my daughter is in school two days a week and most days she has to bring her lunch from home. having her lunch packed the night before a school day took some getting used to, but now i'm having fun with it! some days, i'll even pack a lunch for my son who is homeschooled - because for some reason getting his lunch pre-prepared in his very own lunch box makes lunchtime more special.
whether your children go to school each day, or if your kids are homeschooled, or your child is in preschool, or if your schooling looks like something in between, no matter what your schooling situation is, one thing i've found to be universal: we all want our kiddos to eat a healthy lunch.
to make healthy lunches fun, i like to get creative when i'm packing them! i'm only about a month or two into this lunch packing business, but here are my tips for making a healthy and happy lunch:
// let them pick out their lunchbox. or surprise them with one you know they'll love. if they like their lunch box, they'll have a burst of excitement every time they get to use it. it doesn't have to be expensive or fancy. it could even be a paper bag that they decorate with crayons or markers (before it's packed with food), or maybe you decorate the bag! one mom draws a simple silly comic strip on her son's lunch bag - a different frame every day so by the end of the week he has the whole comic strip! it keeps him looking forward to lunch every day to see what mom drew on his bag. great idea! my daughter picked out a lunch box that matches her backpack. my son recently outgrew his Cars lunchbox, and now he likes this one from Personal Creations embroidered with his monogram. lunch boxes make great and unusual gifts, too!
// get the kiddos involved. let them help pick out groceries at the store specifically for their lunches. since we rarely have prepackaged snacks in our pantry, my kiddos love getting to choose some for their lunchboxes. my only rules are 1) that they can read the ingredients listed on processed/packaged foods, 2) foods must be natural and/or organic if at all possible, 3) they have to have all 5 food groups.
// add a fun napkin. i like to buy colored or printed napkins from the dollar store or clearance section from time to time, and party-themed napkins, too. just to add a fun little surprise in their lunchboxes. i recently put in my daughter's lunchbox a white and gold napkin with the word "LOVE" on it, that was leftover from a bridal shower. she thought it was so pretty.
// write a sweet note. i like to think of my kids opening their lunch boxes and seeing a note from me to lift their spirits, encourage their hearts, make them smile, or even make them laugh. maybe the note just says HI, HAVE A FUN DAY! or maybe it's a knock-knock joke that they can share with their friends. or maybe it's a scripture or prayer specifically for them. it takes just a few extra seconds and can change the tone of their entire day.
// don't forget silverware! i have been known to pack mandarin oranges but forget the fork. oops! i like to pack real silverware or reusable plasticware - the kind that is colorful and fun. again, i shop the party section, dollar section, and clearance section for these things.
my kids don't always finish what's inside their lunchboxes and that is okay. as long as i know the foods they eat are healthy to refuel them for their school day, and if i can bring a smile to their faces at lunch time, we'll call it a success. they can always eat the leftovers for after school snacks :) i'm having a lot of fun packing my kids' school day lunches!
do you pack your kids' lunches? what is your favorite lunchbox packing tip? how do you make the most of it?
*i was provided with a lunchbox from Personal Creations to inspire this post.