Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Tips for Packing the Perfect Lunch
With the start of school right around the corner, (and for many of you, already underway) you may have started thinking about packing lunches. Truth be told, it is not our favorite parenting gig here at Casa Chybinski. In fact, while I am the one that plans the grocery lists and oversees the shopping, my husband is the one that actually puts the lunches together and packs them.
We are team "night before" when it comes to packing school lunches. I am all in favor of an organization system that allows for more time in the mornings and less rushing around. Therefore, we are pretty firm on backpacks and lunches being put together the night before.
So what are the components of packing the perfect lunch? Pinterest is filled with beautiful pictures of fancy and healthy Bento Box lunches. I would love a child that would eat those . . .my children (whom I also love) will not. They are particular and picky and creatures of habit. After nearly 16 years of parenting, I've come to start living in the reality of my life, not the belief of what it should or could be. They don't want Kale Chips, they want Potato Chips, and I've made my peace with that.
But first, you need a delivery system, otherwise known as a lunchbag or lunchbox. When I was a little girl, I had the cutest yellow plastic rectangular Snoopy lunch box with a thermos that fit right in the lid. These days, I tend to stick to some sort of soft bag. As a Stonyfield Ambassador, I recently received a PackIt freezable rolltop lunch bag to try out. The whole bag freezes and keeps your lunch cool for up to ten hours.
Once you have your vessel to transport your lunch to school (or work for we adults), you need containers to put the food in, inside your bag or box. I have never been over fond of reusable bags, but after trying out Blue Avocado, I changed my mind. I also really like the Rubbermaid Lunch Bloc containers, especially the salad container.
Now for the food portion. Ideally, a healthy lunch should contain a protein, a whole grain, and two fruits and/or vegetables. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? But if you've ever packed a lunch for you child (or for yourself), you know it's not typically Pinterest Perfect. There might even be cookies or pudding cups involved. And if you live here, occasionally you get fruit snacks (which are NOT in fact, fruit).
I joke about junk food, but I do really try to give my kids healthy lunches. We do the best we can, and I don't stress out on days that fall short. My pediatrician once told me, that it's an overall picture of food, not a single day snapshot. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Now if you really want to get fancy, you can cut your cheese, fruit and vegetables into fun little shapes. You can make hummus or yogurt dip for dipping foods, if your kids like that. I love to make a yummy fruit dip with some Stonyfield Vanilla Yogurt, or their Greek Yogurt and some of my favorite essential oils. Whatever gets your kids to eat. Not a sandwich fan? Try finger foods or pinwheels for something different.
We also send in a drink with our kids. If you send tomato juice, orange juice or apple juice, the juice can count as a serving of fruit and vegetables. My kids would prefer a Gatorade (of course). While that is not my favorite, I allow them a small one for packed lunch days, since they drink water or milk the rest of the day.
And there you have it, everything you need to pack the perfect lunch. Of course in my opinion, the perfect lunch is the one your child eats, since their bodies and minds need fuel to succeed in school all day. So ask your kids about what they like and don't like, and make some lunch decisions together for the most promising outcome. Heck, maybe they will even make their OWN lunch - and how awesome would that be??
What are your favorite things to pack for lunch?
catch you soon -
This is a sponsored post created in partnership with Stonyfield as a Stonyfield Ambassador. All opinions are always my own.