With less than two weeks to go before S-Day (School Starts! Day) I have been busily planning out the kids breakfasts (that’ll be another post) and lunches for the school year. This is a wholly new thing for us since our sitter has fed the kids both breakfasts and lunch and snack and now we’ll have to get our act together and send the kids off with full tummies and a full lunchbox each. Not a monumental task for sure, but something new to add into our already crazy days. But I think we can manage.
I take my lunch almost every day and I pack it up as we are cleaning up from dinner the night before. That way I can easily pack up leftovers for myself and the kitchen doesn’t get messed up twice. I want to bring the kids in on this so they have buy-in on what is in their lunch box and they understand the ideas behind packing a healthy lunch: few processed carbs, a good source of protein and some fruits and vegetables.
I plan to slowly build up a store of frozen assets: lasagna cups, soups frozen into small portions in muffin tins, chicken nuggets, mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. for some of the times when leftovers aren’t available (or appealing), but mostly leftovers is the plan. For the remainder, we can send along some wraps, lunch meat sandwiches, homemade lunchables and the like. Nuts are either quite limited or verboten at both schools and I haven’t quite worked out the policies (it’s confusing at Tabby’s school; I think they’re OK for lunch, but not for snack? all nuts? just peanuts??). In addition to the main dish, we’ll add some sliced fruit, edamame, veggies with a little dip, maybe yogurt or a muffin.
In an effort to minimize waste and (eventually) cost, I’ve purchased a few reusable items that will hopefully carry us through the year. I looked into some of the more pricey options; bags as well as kits (like laptop lunch or planet lunch boxes), but I really couldn’t justify the outrageous costs. I got cute lunch kits for $5/ea for the kids at Old Navy. Ben’s actually clips to his matching backpack (Tabby’s doesn’t for some reason – wish it did!). After doing some research, I got some divided lunch containers from Target – they’re Ziploc brand and they’re supposed to be somewhat leak-proof. Also garnered from the Target aisles are the squatty little thermoses we can use to send warm foods in. Off Amazon, I ordered some silicone push-pop molds to use for healthier on-the-go yogurt or frozen smoothies or applesauce or whatever as well as a set of kid-sized Contigo water bottles – my personal favorite; no leaks, no straws! – so the kids can take water with them to school. Lastly, I purchased a bunch of reusable sandwich bags from an Etsy seller since sometimes it’s just darn convenient to have a baggie. Unfortunately they were on back order and estimated 5 weeks out, so we will probably not get them before school starts.
I can’t decide what to do about milk – I don’t usually allow our water bottles to have anything in them but water because they just get icky if they’re used constantly for other things. But Ben loves his milk and I either send it in a container or buy a ton of (wasteful) single servings. Maybe I can get them to keep a gallon for him at school and just send a little cup every day? He could also just have his milk with breakfast and dinner and not worry about lunch. Maybe that’s the way to go.
I’m also torn on what to send for napkins and silverware. Ben has the assistance of his teachers to make sure everything is packed up properly, but Tabby does not. I would like to send out our IKEA kid flatware and cloth napkins, but I don’t want them disappearing. Maybe I’ll test it out with one of our more stained napkins and see how it goes?
I’m sure by next year this will all be old hat I’ll marvel at how crazy I went planning this year. Anyhow, if you’re interested, I’ve got a few pins on my School Daze Breakfasts and Lunches Board. Carry on!