We asked our Facebook fans to give us some tips for packing school lunches. Everyone who sent in a suggestion was entered in a draw for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from Bureau en Gros.
Congratulations to the winner, Allison Saunders Cicchetti.
Below were some of our favourite posts (in no particular order). Comments have been edited for space.
Allison Saunders Cicchetti
My son’s school encourages “litter less” lunches. This is sometimes a challenge but it makes me happy that we don’t spend money on snack packs, juice boxes, or other single serving items. In the long run, we actually end up saving money. For example, we don’t buy cheese sticks; we buy a whole block of cheese and cut it into fun shapes.
I make several sandwiches at a time and then freeze them. I take one out in the morning and it thaws by lunch time. Kids are happy and it saves me a ton of time.
It does get challenging and tiring having to prepare and pack appealing and nutritious lunches every day. My go to resource is: www.weelicious.com – it has great ideas for school lunches. I usually pack 1-2 fruit, 1-2 vegetables, 1 dairy, 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate, and 1 treat.
Bite-sized food is really appealing to kids.
Sophie Chi Bouffard
Need a simple ice pack? Purchase small sponges from the dollar store and soak them in a bit of water. Freeze them. Place in Ziploc bags. When thawed, the sponge will soak up the water.
Bagel Mondays, Pasta Tuesdays, Pita Wednesdays, Quinoa Thursdays, leftovers on Fridays! We have had this schedule for three years now and it works for us.
I always prepare the boys’ lunches the night before. I try to vary the sandwiches in as many ways as I can: whole wheat, rye bread, tortilla wraps, pita pockets, bagels. Fruit is my idea of a snack and they get grapes, plums, apple slices (soaked in salted water to avoid oxidation), or mandarin oranges. When I’m out of fresh fruit, they get granola bars, apple sauce or cheese sticks.
Freeze fruit like grapes or orange slices and they will work as an ice pack and be ready to eat by lunch time.
Leftovers! We make a lot of pizza on the weekend and have enough for lunches. We do the same on pasta night and for other meals.
Let them help pack the lunches the night before with you. Makes them feel good and at least you know they will enjoy their lunch. I also would include a little ‘I love you’ message on the napkin!
I pack the following in the lunch box: 2 fruits, a yogurt drink, a cheese stick, sometimes salad (my child isn’t keen on raw vegetables), and the main course, i.e. sandwich, soup or a tofu dish in a thermos. I usually save treats like cookies for after school, almost like a reward. Kids will always eat the snacks before the nutritious food at lunchtime.
My kids like to eat fish sticks cold so that has become an easy lunch for us. We cook them the night before, put them in fridge and then pack them with an ice pack and some tartar sauce the next day.
Stephanie Dale Riddell
My kids favourite was sending milk, cereal (obviously a healthy one) spoon and the bowl. It wasn’t fancy, very simple but they loved it. And it was incredibly healthy. I put milk in a thermos, cereal in a ziploc bag & sent a plastic bowl and spoon.
(who works at Montreal Families and wasn’t included in the draw, might have THE best solution for all of us lunch-weary parents)
The #1 rule in my house is the kids make their own lunches — starting in elementary school. They must go to the grocery store with me and choose, under my supervision, food for their lunches. And I wouldn’t allow them to make the same lunch repeatedly as they tend to get sick of the same foods sooner than they realize.