A lot of kiddos are heading back to school soon, whether it be in the classroom or doing virtual. Something I always dreaded was the old back to school lunch packing! Even more so with a toddler because I feel like they are constantly in that "grazing" mode plus I don't know what happens but I feel like after they hit 2 they become the pickiest eaters!
Here are few lunch & snack ideas I've found lots of success with so I wanted to pass it on in hopes that maybe you could benefit from it too!
First off, invest in a couple of bento boxes!
For whatever reason, my 4 year old LOVES having various "compartments" in her lunch. I think the idea that she is in control of the food selection helps a lot. Basically I can put almost anything in the compartments and she will give it a try. She may not like everything, but she will try it!
I also go a few of these cute little "sandwich picks" in assorted designs for her mini lunches and she loves using them! The ends are not sharp at all so there's no risk of her hurting herself either.
Click HERE to see the ones I purchased
1) Basic proteins
I always have seasoned ground beef on hand and nitrate free sausages. These seem to be some of the most favorite proteins in our house. Another favorite is making what we call bologna or salami pizzas!
Using the airfryer, we just lay a piece of foil in the bottom, spray with cooking spray, add whatever deli meat is her favorite at the time (hence the bologna or salami), top with a slice of cheese and airfry for a few minutes! Then I roll it up and cut it and serve with the fun sandwich picks.
She never asks for the bread either. Plus these hold up good to transport to school!
It's all too easy to get caught up in buying a lot of prepackaged snack-type foods to make your life easier when fixing lunches for the kids. I still catch myself falling into that thinking sometimes!
What I do try to do is buy snacks in bulk and then baggie them into serving sizes at the time of purchase to make life easier.
Some good examples to do this with are:
Sausages (such as Little Dukes brand)
No Sugar Added Dried Fruit
I've even made my own "trail mix" for the kiddos to keep on hand.
Here's what I put in it:
ChocZero Dark & White Chocolate Chips
3)Have Fruits Washed and Ready to Grab
We keep both produce drawers in the fridge stocked with easy grab and go fruits and veggies.
Washed apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, sliced carrots and celery are a few of the regulars you will find on hand! There's something about fresh cold fruit and veggies that my kiddos LOVE! Plus the little ones enjoy being able to just grab it and go tote it around the house and snack while still being on the go.
4)Sliced or individually packed cheese
This is one of my girls favorite! Eden especially loves the individually wrapped Baby Bel cheeses. She likes unwrapping them herself and removing the wax. It almost ends up being a surprise for her- haha! We also get string cheese in the various characters they are into at that time. There was a while there where we were getting string cheese that had "Frozen 2" wrappers on it and oh my goodness- it was a total hit!
5)Healthy "Sweet" Selections
There's always room for dessert over here! I try my best to have clean options for the kids as far as any type of treat goes. It is not always the easiest thing when they go to school, but teaching them the basics from the get go about nutrition helps them to understand why you opt for these choices verses traditional sugar filled treats.
Generally I'll pack Eden a small square of ChocZero or Lily's chocolate to have as her treat in her lunch box. If for some reason she doesn't want that I'll put a little dolop of unsweetened peanut butter with some white chocolate chips.
Magic Spoon cereal also makes a line of more health conscious cereals and the girls like to have those as a good treat too!
We also love to make yogurt parfaits with stevia sweetened greek yogurt, berries, and some Magic Spoon cereal for them to have as a good treat!
See Links below for purchasing info on both options: