Now that September is here, what do you pack for your children’s back-to-school lunches? Are you in need of some back-to-school lunch ideas?
I am extremely mindful of what goes into our daughter’s lunches. I want to make sure she’s getting a healthy, hearty lunch, complete with vegetables, fruit, protein, and everything a growing child needs. I also want to make sure to take into consideration those around her. With food allergies, it’s extremely important to make sure we do not send anything that may cause an allergic reaction in students or staff with life-threatening food allergies.
Though Little One loves peanut butter and honey on toast, I do not let her eat it on school days. She can only have her favourite combo on weekends. She is not much of a bread-eater, so finding a combo that she loves and will eat was a challenge. Despite her love of peanut butter and honey on toast, it’s weekends only because I know that the oils from the peanuts can transfer and the smell of peanut butter in her mouth can also trigger an allergic reaction in someone with a severe peanut allergy.
She is fine with having peanut butter and honey on toast on weekends.
A friend in Southern Ontario was telling me that at her child’s school they have been asked to not include nuts, eggs, berries, coconut, fish, seafood and certain vegetables because a student is allergic to all of those. Some parents have resorted to sending packaged/boxed “food” in their children’s lunches, just to be on the safe side. There was concern that berries are some of the only healthy foods that some kids will eat and to take that away left limited options. For kids who do not eat meat, they cannot supplement their diets with nuts — and, understandably so. Having worked with kids with severe food allergies, I know how quickly a reaction can come on. Administering an Epi-pen is not a fun thing to do either.
What to pack in your kids’ back-to-school lunches then?
I tend to avoid sending Little One with a lot of packaged products. Even Little One tells me, “Mama, do you know that FOOD is vegetables, fruit, meat, and things that you can EAT? I don’t like too much sugar or junk food. Junk food is not food.”
Hey, I can’t make things like that up. Out of the mouths of babes.
Here are some back-to-school lunch ideas:
(Left to right) Some of Little One’s favourite back-to-school lunch ideas:
- Honey and cheese sandwich, cucumber, carrots, nori, deviled eggs, blueberries, applesauce, probiotic kids’ drink and Thermos filled with water and splash of lemon
- Vietnamese vegetable wraps/fresh spring rolls (in rice paper wrapper) with tofu, cucumber, strawberries, blueberries, Thermos filled with water and splash of lemon
- Carrots, cherries, strawberries, Singapore noodles, little chocolate-filled biscuits for a treat, Thermos filled with water
- Carrots, pickles, orange wedges, watermelon, veggie and roasted chicken wrap, Thermos filled with water
- Cucumber, yellow pepper, cantaloupe, grapes, homemade pizza bites, bottle of water, yogurt
- Grapes, cheese, cucumber, rice with roasted chicken, little chocolate-filled biscuits for a treat, bottle of water, yogurt
- Pear wedges, carrot, celery, homemade mini mac ‘n cheese cups, chocolate biscuit, yogurt, water
- Apple, grapes, cucumber, orange pepper, rice and BBQ beef and pork, water, yogurt
- Apple, grapes, cucumber and red pepper salad, Kolbasa, cheese, bread, mini cookie, water
- Cucumber, clementine, turkey sandwich, dried cranberries, homemade apple crumble, yogurt, water with splash of lemon
- Celery, carrots, grapes, clementine, bunny bun sandwich (turkey, bacon, veg), yogurt, water
- Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, leftover Shepherd’s Pie, applesauce, water **Yes, my child likes COLD leftovers and insists I send her to school with cold food**
- Mini Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese cup, cheese, grapes, broccoli, homemade apple muffin, yogurt, water with splash of lemon
- Orange wedges, broccoli, chicken and vegetable stir-fry with rice, strawberries, yogurt, water
- Orange wedges, celery, pineapple, dried cranberries, lettuce, deviled eggs, mini cheese sandwich, water
- Red and orange peppers, boiled egg, mini cheese sandwiches, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, applesauce, water
Back-to-School Lunch-Packing Tips:
- Use containers that your kids can open on their own
- Label all their litterless lunch items (lunchbox, containers, water bottle, reusable cutlery, cloth napkins, cold/ice pack, etc)
- Make sure to include LOTS of colour! Get your kids to “eat a rainbow” by packing fruits and vegetables of all the colours of the rainbow
- Get your kids to help make their lunches! If they’re old enough, get them to make their own lunches! My 5 year old has been helping me make her lunches since she was in JK. Trust me…this isn’t all me! She’s been my little sous chef and loves “plating” her food.
- Make use of leftovers! To be honest, I do not spend a lot of time making Little One’s lunches. They’re usually just leftovers from supper…only fancied up a bit!
- Put an ice pack in your child’s lunchbox for all the food that needs to be kept cool (like yogurt and cheese)!
- Pack food that doesn’t need to be re-heated. Not all schools let kids use the school microwave to warm up their dishes. We don’t have that issue, since Little One actually LIKES her food cold. She loves cold pasta, cold pizza, etc. I know…weird?!
- Always pack a bottle of water. Little One has a Thermos filled with water with her every day. Just water. I actually do not give her juice in her lunch. If we’re at a party or social gathering, she can have a bit, but I don’t make it a habit of sending juice with her every day. She can get the vitamins and fibre from actual fruit. She really doesn’t need the extra sugar.
- Reusable cloth napkins are great for wiping sticky hands or using as a placemat.
Some favourite products we use for Little One’s litterless lunches:
- Mabel’s Labels
- Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware
- Funkins reusable cloth napkins
- Today I Ate a Rainbow
- Thermos FUNtainer
- Lunchbox Love notes
*This is NOT a sponsored post. These are items I use for my family and wanted to share.