Back to school lunch. How about this year, your kids make it for themselves?
Let’s face it… as parents we all despise making school lunches. Not only is it time consuming but it’s even more frustrating when the lunch boxes come home full, accompanied by complaints that this lunch ‘was gross mommy’.
Enough is enough.
This year hand the lunch making responsibility over to your kids! Yes, they can do it.
Guidelines of what must be included gives kids a way to be creative with their lunch. Even if the idea of them holding a knife is terrifying, there are ways to manage prep and keep all 10 fingers in tact.
Logan, age 9, and her sister Hadley, age 7, have been making her own lunch for the past year and has some tips for kids to get busy in the kitchen alongside mom or dad to make lunch the way they like it.
- Use a small paring or steak knife. It’s not too big or too small, but sharp enough to cut through a carrot.
- Try peeling carrots for practice. I try to get long peelings from carrots, but make sure you do it away from you, not towards your fingers.
- Gadgets like apple slicers and melon ballers make taking sliced or balled fruit much easier. And it’s fun to use.
- I have my own wooden spoon for stirring soup, use my favourite spatula for flipping my grilled cheese and a big spoon with holes for taking gnocchi out of the water once the float to the top.
- When I have to use hot water or the stove, I make sure mom or dad are right there so I don’t hurt myself. I burned myself once, but it didn’t hurt after we ran it under cold water.
How to Build A Great Lunch
Lunch must have a fruit or vegetable, protein and carbohydrate to for sustained energy from lunch to the last bell. Some essential fats from fish or seeds would be an extra brainy bonus.
Protein – used for every just about everything the body does. From growth and repair to providing the building blocks for digestion, immune complexes to fight off flu and colds, protein is what helps energy from carbohydrates last longer.
Found in: meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, soy products, pulses, beans, eggs, legumes, millet, amaranth, quinoa, nuts, and seeds
Carbohydrate – pure energy in every bite. Provides fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Found in: grains and cereals (bread, pasta, oats, wheat, and rice), vegetables, fruits, beans, and pulses
Here are a few examples of what Logan likes to make for lunch.
Rice wraps – packed with veggies that mom likes, noodles that I love and protein to keep me going longer. They are so fun to make and all the kids at school want to know what I have.
Noodles and sauce with sprinkle cheese – I make this all the time. I often add in leftover chicken, maybe ham and make different noodles to keep it interesting.
Leftovers – sometimes when I really like dinner, I take that the next day for lunch. Mom makes great chicken and baked crunchy sweet potatoes, so I always take that.
Bagel with honey and tahini – when we are really rushed, a bagel with honey and tahini (sesame seed butter – check with school first) does the trick. My sister likes cheese so she has a muffin and cheese.
She has some more tips for your kids:
– Get your lunch ready after breakfast but before you get dressed for school.
– Make sure you have lots of different size containers. Pickles don’t fit well into square or round ones.
– Always pack a fruit or vegetable. I love green beans, sugar snap peas and sliced peppers.
– Have a back up lunch bag. Sometimes thing spill in my lunch bag.
– Agree with your mom or dad that you they are going to make your lunch once a week. Mom makes mine on Fridays – and she packs me a cookie too.
Give your kids the responsibility of at least planning lunch with you so everyone knows what’s coming.
We’ve made a Smart Kids Breakfast and Lunch Meal Plan available here to give inspiration, recipes and a meal plan of what to eat for breakfast and lunch that’ll have that first report card singing with A’s!
Does your child make their own lunch?