School Lunches 2014-2015 - week 17

One of these days I have plans to start blogging about more than just my kids school lunches, but spare time is limited and so this is most of what I do here on the blog right now.  I'm glad that there's so many of you who are interested in seeing these things - keep sharing with your friends, and let me know what else you'd like to know about what I'm doing. 

One of the key things I try to focus on when packing a lunch is to give them some amount of balance.  I don't always manage it, but at least several days out of the week I think I do pretty well at giving them a balanced meal with protein, fruit, veggie, and carb.  Sometimes there's more of one than the others, but over the course of the week I think we balance out ok.  

I see a lot of comments about the quantity of food, and some folks commenting about how this wouldn't be enough for their kid. I really do think the pictures are a little deceiving, as these lunchboxes hold more than you might think.  They're pretty flexible that way actually - you can pack a small meal, with some little dividers or containers or skewers to keep the small amount of food from slipping around.  Or you can really cram it full enough to satisfy any adult appetite.  My husband is a good eater and I can pack him a lunch in one of the Easy Lunchboxes and he is plenty satisfied.  

I've said it before, but I'll repeat myself because it's something I think about every day when I'm packing the lunch, but I think one of the most important aspects of a meal is the visual appeal.  Nobody likes to eat food that looks unattractive.  Even kids like to eat food that looks nice. And they get even more excited about it if they know you might be doing a little something fun.  It doesn't take much - a simple little round biscuit cutter and a few small shaped cookie cutters, and you have a really fun looking meal.  Add in some nice bright colors from some fresh fruit and veggies, and now you've got their attention.  Even if they don't eat it all right away, you are exposing them to the beauty and pleasure of a fresh, homemade meal.  And easy way to get the kids involved is to let them choose the shape of the cutter.

I get so many questions about how I keep the fruit from turning brown, and if my kids will still eat it with some brown on it - apples, bananas, avocados.  The first answer is that I don't do anything.  The apples don't turn brown, even cut days ahead.  Avocados I cut in the morning and are still ok a few hours later.  Bananas may get a little brown on the cut end, but my kids don't seem to mind. 

Just sunbutter and homemade jam, on multigrain bread.  But they chose what shape they wanted me to cut, which was a simple way to get them involved in the meal.  They all have tomatoes and cheese, three have plain yogurt with honey, one has cottage cheese, two have blueberries and two have sugar snap peas. 

Just sunbutter and homemade jam, on multigrain bread.  But they chose what shape they wanted me to cut, which was a simple way to get them involved in the meal.  They all have tomatoes and cheese, three have plain yogurt with honey, one has cottage cheese, two have blueberries and two have sugar snap peas. 

This was a breakfast and snack.  My breakfast doesn't look very appealing here, but it was really good.  Scrambled eggs with polish sausage, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and cheese.  In the middle was my lunch - salami, boiled egg, cheese, and salt for the egg in the pink container.  On the right was a mid-morning snack for my son - ham, cheese, egg, and crackers. 

This was a breakfast and snack.  My breakfast doesn't look very appealing here, but it was really good.  Scrambled eggs with polish sausage, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and cheese.  In the middle was my lunch - salami, boiled egg, cheese, and salt for the egg in the pink container.  On the right was a mid-morning snack for my son - ham, cheese, egg, and crackers. 

Three have half and avocado with a little bottle of soy sauce.  We like to fill the avocado with soy sauce and eat it with a spoon.  They also have cheese, sugar snap peas, apples, and crackers.  One doesn't like avocado or those kind of crackers, so she got ham, cottage cheese, and a mixture of bunny crackers. 

Three have half and avocado with a little bottle of soy sauce.  We like to fill the avocado with soy sauce and eat it with a spoon.  They also have cheese, sugar snap peas, apples, and crackers.  One doesn't like avocado or those kind of crackers, so she got ham, cottage cheese, and a mixture of bunny crackers. 

Breakfast for lunch.  Homemade instant oatmeal in the thermos containers, cheerios with dried fruit, bananas, oranges, and cheese. 

Breakfast for lunch.  Homemade instant oatmeal in the thermos containers, cheerios with dried fruit, bananas, oranges, and cheese. 

"deconstructed" nacho kids: chips, beans or chicken, sour cream, shredded cheese.  With some tomatoes and cucumbers on the side. 

"deconstructed" nacho kids: chips, beans or chicken, sour cream, shredded cheese.  With some tomatoes and cucumbers on the side. 

Simple sandwiches. One has sunbutter & jelly. one has ham, cheddar, and mayo.  One has ham, cucumber, and cheddar.  One has a veggie sandwich with peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and cheddar.  With carrots and sugar snap peas on the side, and oranges and apples. Two different apples sliced and alternated sure was a simple way to make the lunches look a little extra special. 

Simple sandwiches. One has sunbutter & jelly. one has ham, cheddar, and mayo.  One has ham, cucumber, and cheddar.  One has a veggie sandwich with peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and cheddar.  With carrots and sugar snap peas on the side, and oranges and apples. Two different apples sliced and alternated sure was a simple way to make the lunches look a little extra special. 

Ski lunches for Saturday for the whole family.  This is what I mean about these lunchboxes holding enough food for my husband and I.  This lunch was plenty for us.  Dad and 3 kids have cheeseburgers with ketchup on the side. Dad also got a side of leftover sauteed onions and mushrooms. I made these for dinner Thursday night and just made lots extra to save for lunch.  One has PB&J on a burger bun.  I have a salad with basil vinaigrette and some hamburger patties, mushrooms, and onions.  We all have strawberries, chips, and a small piece of chocolate wrapped in wax paper. The chips were an experiment - I packed these the night before and put in the fridge.  I wasn't sure if the chips would stay crunch overnight or not, but they did!

Ski lunches for Saturday for the whole family.  This is what I mean about these lunchboxes holding enough food for my husband and I.  This lunch was plenty for us.  Dad and 3 kids have cheeseburgers with ketchup on the side. Dad also got a side of leftover sauteed onions and mushrooms. I made these for dinner Thursday night and just made lots extra to save for lunch.  One has PB&J on a burger bun.  I have a salad with basil vinaigrette and some hamburger patties, mushrooms, and onions.  We all have strawberries, chips, and a small piece of chocolate wrapped in wax paper. The chips were an experiment - I packed these the night before and put in the fridge.  I wasn't sure if the chips would stay crunch overnight or not, but they did!

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Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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