Catching up on 2014 school lunches

The holidays really throw my routine out the window.  In November and December the school lunches were made, and the photos were taken, but I didn't get around to blogging them for you.  So here you are, a catch up of several weeks of school lunches. 

Remember, the food itself doesn't have to be anything fancy.  Just take an extra minute to present the meal in a fun way, and it will seem so much more appealing. If you look at the contents of these lunches, most of them do not contain anything really revolutionary, just normal kid lunch stuff presented in an appealing and organized way.  I try to make sure the lunch is balanced with a protein, a fruit and a veggie (although looking back at some of these pics, I see I haven't done so great with the veggie - something to work on in 2015!).

I follow a very loose theme menu each week for my lunches.  It just gives me a place to start and helps me ensure I'm not giving them the same thing every day. I know some kids would be perfectly happy to eat the same lunch every day, but mine will not.  They like a little variety.  And honestly, so do I.  I would get too bored just making the same lunch every day.  My routine goes a little something like this:

  • Monday: weekend leftovers, or sunbutter & jam sandwich
  • Tuesday: something with a tortilla - quesadilla, burrito
  • Wednesday: breakfast for lunch - oatmeal, muffin, leftover pancake or waffle
  • Thursday: homemade lunchable - crackers, meat, cheese
  • Friday: Weeknight leftovers, or sandwiches, usually meat and cheese.  Or 'make your own' sandwich kits.

And finally, my biggest lunch packing tip is to plan ahead!  If you do a meal plan, great.  If not, even just jot down on a scrap of paper a few notes about what you're going to pack for a few days.  You'll be so glad you did, it's so much easier to have a plan, rather that have to figure it out right at the last minute.  And a big part of planning ahead includes making your lunches ahead of time.  I try to make mine right after dinner each night. If I get lazy and skip it, I really kick myself in the morning.  

If you're looking for lunch packing products, here are some of my favorites that you'll see used in many of these lunches:

Now on to the lunches!

Leftover pizza, cut into strips, container of applesauce, oranges, tomatoes, and a mini apple pie.

Leftover pizza, cut into strips, container of applesauce, oranges, tomatoes, and a mini apple pie.

Mom sometimes needs lunch too!  I had a chicken salad with onion, celery, mayo, dill, celery seed.  Cucumbers and guacamole, asian pears, almond rice crackers. 

Mom sometimes needs lunch too!  I had a chicken salad with onion, celery, mayo, dill, celery seed.  Cucumbers and guacamole, asian pears, almond rice crackers. 

Bagels with cream cheese and almond butter for three (one had just butter), with homemade applesauce, ham or a cheese stick, apples, animal crackers, and one little dark chocolate covered edamame bean. 

Bagels with cream cheese and almond butter for three (one had just butter), with homemade applesauce, ham or a cheese stick, apples, animal crackers, and one little dark chocolate covered edamame bean. 

Muffins, cheese, applesauce, bunny crackers, almonds, apples, and yogurt covered cookies. 

Muffins, cheese, applesauce, bunny crackers, almonds, apples, and yogurt covered cookies. 

Our last lunches before we left for California and Disneyland!  I saved these bags from the kids lunches the last time we went to Disney, so I thought they would be fun to pack in.  We were leaving for the airport right after school, so I didn't want lunchboxes to wash.  It's just a simple lunch of a sunbutter & jam sandwich, cheese stick, apples, and yogurt covered cookies. 

Our last lunches before we left for California and Disneyland!  I saved these bags from the kids lunches the last time we went to Disney, so I thought they would be fun to pack in.  We were leaving for the airport right after school, so I didn't want lunchboxes to wash.  It's just a simple lunch of a sunbutter & jam sandwich, cheese stick, apples, and yogurt covered cookies. 

Cheese pizzas on homemade english muffins, with a bunny cracker mix, cheese, and oranges.  These were super easy lunches because the pizzas were made ahead and just pulled out of the freezer the night before. 

Cheese pizzas on homemade english muffins, with a bunny cracker mix, cheese, and oranges.  These were super easy lunches because the pizzas were made ahead and just pulled out of the freezer the night before. 

Corn dog muffins (from the freezer) with ketchup for dipping, bites of apple & carrot, letter cookies. 

Corn dog muffins (from the freezer) with ketchup for dipping, bites of apple & carrot, letter cookies. 

Bites of leftover pizza, peas, cheese, apples, and three have applesauce while one has sausage. 

Bites of leftover pizza, peas, cheese, apples, and three have applesauce while one has sausage. 

A yummy lunch for me.  Meatballs with sausage, mushrooms and kale.  Boiled egg, pickles, almonds and raisins. 

A yummy lunch for me.  Meatballs with sausage, mushrooms and kale.  Boiled egg, pickles, almonds and raisins. 

One of these things is not like the other.  One child came home from school early the day before, so she got her same lunch sent back again.  The other three have rolled quesadillas, carrot, apples, cookies, two have ham and one has almond butter. 

One of these things is not like the other.  One child came home from school early the day before, so she got her same lunch sent back again.  The other three have rolled quesadillas, carrot, apples, cookies, two have ham and one has almond butter. 

Breakfast for lunch - homemade instant oatmeal in the thermos containers, toast, cheese, banana. 

Breakfast for lunch - homemade instant oatmeal in the thermos containers, toast, cheese, banana. 

Lunchable: crackers, cheese, tomatoes, orange, two have ham, two have cucumbers, one has peppers, and they have a little trail mix on the side of almonds, raisins, and cheerios. 

Lunchable: crackers, cheese, tomatoes, orange, two have ham, two have cucumbers, one has peppers, and they have a little trail mix on the side of almonds, raisins, and cheerios. 

My kids love to make their own sandwiches.  This is one of their favorite lunches.  They have bread, cheese, mayo, and various combinations of veggies and ham.  With apple and banana. 

My kids love to make their own sandwiches.  This is one of their favorite lunches.  They have bread, cheese, mayo, and various combinations of veggies and ham.  With apple and banana. 

I was out of bread, so it was bagel sandwiches.  Two have turkey and cream cheese, one has almond butter and cream cheese, one has hummus and veggies.  They all have a cheese, tomatoes, apples, and rice chex. 

I was out of bread, so it was bagel sandwiches.  Two have turkey and cream cheese, one has almond butter and cream cheese, one has hummus and veggies.  They all have a cheese, tomatoes, apples, and rice chex. 

Pizzadillas - just a quesadilla with tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Sides of either turkey, nuts, or peppers, and apples and cheerios. 

Pizzadillas - just a quesadilla with tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Sides of either turkey, nuts, or peppers, and apples and cheerios. 

A repeate from earlier in the lunch, it was popular.  Oatmeal, cheese, banana, toast. 

A repeate from earlier in the lunch, it was popular.  Oatmeal, cheese, banana, toast. 

The last lunch before Christmas break! Skewers of various combinations of cheese, veggies, hot dog, with more veggies and fruit on the side. Two have a boiled egg, one has sunbutter. 

The last lunch before Christmas break! Skewers of various combinations of cheese, veggies, hot dog, with more veggies and fruit on the side. Two have a boiled egg, one has sunbutter. 

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Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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