Hooray! You’re back for more! Welcome to part three of helping your kids have their best school year yet! This one’s a biggie, but four words can sum it up: sweet notes, healthy choices.
Lunch is probably the only time you get to “speak” to your child throughout his or her school day. Why not make the most of it? Buy a few packs of themed party napkins to tuck in with lunch, or better: jot a little love note on a napkin or sandwich baggie! For kids who are too young to read yet, doodle a drawing for your son or daughter to find–a simple smiley face can go a long way in the heart of a child. For young readers, maybe jot down a joke, an encouraging bible verse, or a funny line from a favorite movie. One of the best notes my husband ever wrote to my eldest son was telling him to “look around”… so when our son opened the note in the cafeteria, he looked around to see his daddy walk in and have lunch with him. Awesomeness.
Here’s a whole board someone’s curated on pinterest dedicated just to lunchbox notes if you need a little pinspiration for what to write. Links to free printables, too!
And I am still a proponent of “the GIGO effect”: Garbage In; Garbage Out. It takes very little effort to fill a lunchbox with appealing food that is not full of sugar and junk. Really! I’m not trying to be a party-pooper, but–like with breakfast–I want this food to fuel my kids through the rest of the afternoon. So that is my mindset as I pack their lunches. Of course, I’m not health food nut or nutrition guru (and if you are, you might still find my choices sub par), but here are common lunchbox fillers ’round here:
*sandwiches (PB&J, turkey, ham on wheat), crusts cut off and cut into halves or quarters, per child’s preference (or get one of those neat-o shape sandwich cutters, fun!)
*mac & cheese or raviolis (in an insulated twist-off-top container)
*wheat thins, wheat crackers, goldfish
*mozzarella cheese sticks
*granola bars (for dessert)
*100% juice (read the labels to make sure it’s actually fruit juice, not just high fructose sugar water with food coloring), [reusable] water bottle, or water with a sugar-free flavor pack (like lemonade, etc.) to add
*fresh fruit (have it already cut up, so all you have to do is put it in a lunch container) like apples (add a little sprite or lemon juice to keep from browning, or use this handy trick), peaches, nectarines, bananas, grapes
*individual apple sauces (again, check the labels to make sure they’re JUST apples, not a bunch of added junk), or Go-Go Squeez apple sauce pouches (love those things!)
*frozen simple gogurts (not the real junkie ones)
*fruit leathers, natural fruit strips
Think of items & containers that are reasonably easy for your child to open himself, and seek a balance of tastes & textures (like sweet & salty, crunchy & soft, etc.).
Having the fuel and the encouragement to power through the afternoon is another great way to help your kids have their best year yet!
So, tell me, how do you pack love straight into those little lunchboxes of yours?
Perhaps you’d like to read more in the back-to-school series?
Or have a peek into how I tucked love into Big Bro’s lunch (my first ever blog post)…