Is it really the most wonderful time of the year?? Sure, it's great to get back into a routine. And if you've had the kids home with you all summer there is definitely a certain relief to not having to figure out what to do with them every day to keep them off the couch. But with the coming of the new school year come different challenges.
The bane of many a parent's September is the reappearance of the school lunch. How do you manage to put together a nutritious and balanced lunch that your child will actually eat, and that meets all the requirements and restrictions of the school? It can be a struggle, especially if you have a picky eater. I think the most basic requirements for getting through the school lunch are to be prepared, and to think "variety."
One point I cannot make strongly enough - prep as much as you can the night before. Unless we are sending a hot lunch (leftovers or soup, for instance) in a thermos, everything is prepped before bed and placed in the insulated lunch bag in the fridge. Then in the morning you (or your child) just has to grab an ice pack to throw in and they are ready to go. Handy hint - if you are making a sandwich that includes tomatoes, keep them separate until it's time to eat. Place the tomato slices in their own small container for your child to add to their sandwich at school. Tomatoes are famous for making soggy sandwiches, which no one likes to eat.
You can also prepare many items for the week's lunches on Sunday evening - wash fruits and veggies and even cut up the ones that won't turn. You can have grapes, berries, sliced green peppers, and carrot sticks all ready to be tossed into their containers for quick lunch construction during the week. Chunks of cheese for a cheese & crackers day. Pre-fill yogourt into reusable containers for those litterless lunches. If you think ahead, and spend some time on a less hectic evening, you can pretty much have everything other than your sandwich ready to go. If there are lots of options ready at hand, it's easier to create varied lunches that will keep your kids interested. Less stress for all!
Are you in a bit of a lunch rut? Looking for some new ideas? Well, I encourage you to check out Dempster’s Lunch Box Inspirations, because this site is designed to help. Dempster's nutrition team is joined on the site by a group of Canadian Moms (including me), offering recipes, tips and tricks to get you re-motivated and inspired. I'm trying out a new recipe this week - the Canadian Club Sandwich, and I can't wait to share what my family thought of it. (It has BACON!) Watch for my post on the Lunch Box Inspirations site next week!
In the meantime, if you really want to talk creativity and variety, how about trying out a panini grill? Grilled sandwiches are delicious, hot or cold, and you can include such a variety of fillings. Would you like to win a grill of your own? Dempster's is encouraging your sandwich creativity with this great giveaway - I have been provided one Hamilton-Beach Panini Grill to award to one lucky Raising My Boys reader. It could be you! I'm using RaffleCopter (my new best friend) for this giveaway and details are below. Good luck!
Disclosure – I am participating in the Dempster’s Lunch Box Inspirations program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Dempster’s Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.