School Lunches and Meal Plan

I'm starting a new series that's everything School Lunches.  Last year, my daughter attended Public School and so I could occasionally rely on hot lunches as a mix up for her cold lunches.  This year, she attends a Charter School where they do not offer hot lunch - period.  Everyone gets cold lunch from home.  So I have to get inventive.

Here are a few things that I recommend for cold lunches:

Ziploc makes these awesome containers.  While I love the idea of bento boxes, I have a hard time springing for one when I can buy 4 of the Ziploc type for the same price.  There are 3 compartments, one large, one medium, and one small.  They are perfect for a sandwich, some fruit, and a vegetable or treat.  And they are microwave and dishwasher safe.

Diamond Multi-Purpose Mini Cups are awesome for dips, dressings, or just small treats that you want to keep separate from other items.  You can find these where you get paper plates and paper cups.  They are about $3 for a pack of 50.

Silicone Muffin Cups.  You can buy these practically anywhere.  Instead of purchasing several different types of bento boxes (priced usually around $15-$20), you can use these to divide your Ziploc container further.  You will not always want to use the large section in its' entirety.  I like to plop these muffin cups in the container for crackers, cheese, hot dogs, etc.  And I buy the silicone ones so that I can wash them and use them again.

These are the basics that I use for K1's school lunches.  I occasionally toss a plastic fork in there for her and sometimes I use a food pick to make fun little kabobs.  Something I've learned over the last 2 years in making cold lunches is that the key is variety and making it fun!  If it's fun, they're more likely to eat it.

So why have I chosen to do cold lunches over hot lunches?  Simple.  Do you know what they use in the preparation of school lunches?  Do you know the amount of preservatives and chemicals they use?  Yikes.  This way, when I make my kiddo's lunch, I KNOW what is going into her lunch.  AND I get to see what she's eating and what she's not eating.  Very important when it comes to nutrition for your child.  Something that I do want to do eventually is invest in a thermos container so I can send hot lunches (aka LEFTOVERS!) with her.

Now that we have that out of the way, here's a recap of what K1 took with her to school this week:

1 - PB&J Sandwich, crusts removed using a sandwich cutter (you can also use a big cookie cutter!).  1/2 Gala Apple, cut into slices.  Baby Carrots.  Cookies and Creme Hershey Kisses (K1's favorite).

2 - Ham and Colby Jack Cheese Kabobs (I used 3 slices of ham and cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes, I bought the food picks at Target in the party section).  Pretzel crackers (Peppridge Farm).  3 Strawberries, sliced.  Baby Carrots.  Hershey Kisses.

3 - 1 Hot Dog, sliced.  Ketchup and Mustard in a Diamond Mini Cup.  Fish crackers.  String cheese.  Red grapes.  Hershey Kisses (I found out this day that she is sharing her kisses with other kids at lunch!  What a great way to make friends!).

4 - PB&J Sushi - I remove the crusts and flatten the bread with a rolling pin, then spread a small amount of PB&J, then roll it up (lengthwise) and cut into pieces.  Baby Carrots with Ranch in a Mini Cup.  Applesauce Pouch.  Hershey Kisses.

5 - Homemade Lunchable - 2 slices each of Ham and Turkey, cut into thirds.  2 slices Colby Jack cheese, cut into fifths.  Wheat Thin crackers.  Grapes.  Baby Carrots.  Hershey Kisses.

*Unless noted otherwise, I use whole wheat bread for sandwiches.  I also send her with water bottle instead of juices or fruit drinks.

You can follow along during the week on Instagram.  OR you can just swing by here on Fridays to grab some ideas for your next kiddo's lunch.

And now for next week's Dinner Meal Plan. We're heading into a holiday weekend, so I have no misconception that I'm going to be able to plan meals.  We usually play things by ear over holidays.  Time to relax a little.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.  Be safe!  See you Tuesday!