Beyond the Sandwich

Beyond The Sandwich – Mix It Up With Different Lunch Foods

When you think about packed school lunch, PB&J or ham and cheese sandwiches come to mind. While sandwiches certainly make for a nice school lunch, they are not your only option. Mix it up by fixing something different for your kids this school year.

Make It A Wrap

A quick and easy alternative to a sandwich is a wrap. Grab some tortillas and fix your child’s favourite sandwich as a wrap. Wraps are also great for adding lots of lettuce and extra veggies. Hummus and cucumbers make a delicious vegetarian lunch option too.

When you’re done adding your toppings, roll it up like a burrito and cut it in half if desired. The wrap is good as is, or you can pack a small serving of salad dressing to use as a dip. Ranch Dressing is always a favourite around here. Just make sure you pack it in a small, airtight container so your little one doesn’t end up with the dressing all over the lunch box (ask me, I know).

Who Doesn’t Love Snack Food And Lunchables?

I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t love lunchables. But have you looked at the price of those found at the grocery store lately? Plus I’m not the biggest fan of the food options.

Why not get a little creative here and make your own version instead, using fresh ingredients and food you know your child will eat.

Start with some sandwich meat and cheese cut into bite-sized pieces. Add some fresh raw veggies like sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots. Throw in some fresh or dried fruit, and there you have it, a delicious, healthy, homemade version.

Of course you can turn any of your kids’ favourite snack foods, including popcorn, trail mix, crackers, cheese, fruits and veggies, and the like, into a delicious lunch.

Grab a container with lots of little dividers (bento boxes are perfect) and fill them up with kid-friendly favourites.

Healthy Salads For Lunch

Do your kids eat salad? Salads are another great lunch option, particularly for older children. Get a container with a tight-fitting lid and add all your child’s favourite salad ingredients minus the dressing in there.

Start with a bed of lettuce, add raw veggies, croutons (because, oh my, who doesn’t love croutons?), bacon bits, nuts and seeds, and the like. Top it with a source of protein like cheese, hard-boiled egg, ham or turkey, or maybe even some grilled chicken.

Pack dressing in a separate container along with a fork and napkin, and voila…lunch is done.

You can assemble the salad the night before and store it in the fridge. The key is to make sure all your ingredients are very dry. If you’re washing your lettuce, use a salad spinner, or dry it on some paper towels before packing it.

And cutting everything into small bite-sized pieces will ensure that the lunchtime salad is easy to eat and tastes ever so good!

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Packed School Lunch

4 Simple Tips To Get Organised And Make Fixing Lunches Easier

You know that awful feeling when your alarm hasn’t gone off, or you’ve dismissed it instead of hitting “snooze”…and you end up oversleeping?

Yeah…SO DO I!!!

There is nothing worse than running late in the morning and you find yourself desperately trying to figure out something you can put in your kids’ lunch boxes. If you feel flustered or end up buying school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, I have some tips to help you. These tips will help you get organised, and fixing lunches will become a breeze.

1.  Create A List And Go Shopping

A good place to start is by sitting down with your kids, and together you can come up with a list of lunches they like.

This could include:
or even homemade lunchable

But it doesn’t have to stop there!

If you add a thermos to the mix, you can pack reheated leftovers, homemade soup, and the like. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.

Make sure you have appropriate containers, and then head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about snacks and drinks as needed. The list you’ve created should make this much easier. Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will want to eat, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your weekly shopping trips.

2.  Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home

When you get home from the store, keep lunch foods out and see what you can do to prep things ahead of time. Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash them and store them in little bags you can grab and toss in the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Slice cheese as needed and whatever else you can prep as soon as you get home.

3.  Pack Lunches The Night Before

Mornings are busy enough as it is and not always the perfect time to have to worry about packing lunches. Try making them the night before. Get the kids involved and have them help with their lunch prep and clean-up after. You can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It won’t take long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches while cleaning up after dinner. You’ll start to appreciate this new habit in the mornings when you only need to grab a couple of things from the fridge and toss them in the lunch boxes. There’ll be no more panicking and rushing around trying to figure out what to pack!

4.  Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home

To make lunch prep even easier, I would recommend getting the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school. Even the youngest can help with this. Have them toss any uneaten food and bring the containers to the sink to be washed. Older children can easily clean their own containers, while you’ll probably have to do the washing for your youngest. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on in the day.

It’s really not a big chore for any age kid to take on, and it gets them into a good routine…Plus it teaches them discipline.

Stick to these tips; it won’t take long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine that will make it a snap. Don’t forget to involve the kids and put them in charge of the preparations. Not only will this make your life easier in the long run, but it will also give them a sense of ownership over their lunch.

I’d love to hear what you do for your kids’ school lunches.

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Packing Healthy School Lunches

How To Pack School Lunches That Your Kids Will Want To Eat

Winter is finally coming to an end, DownUnder, so that means Summer is just around the corner…YAY, I can’t wait…I LOVE Summer!

But in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is coming to an end, and the kids have just started back at school.

So, for you, it means it’s time to get back into your daily routine.

Do You Give Your Kids A Packed Lunch Each Day?

Is part of your daily routine spent packing school lunches? It has been my life for the past 14 years.

Packed lunches are a great option when your child isn’t too fond of what the school offers or you want more control over what your child is eating.

Of course, if your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, a packed lunch is a must!

For me, packing a lunch allows me to include healthy foods my kids will eat. I find overall, it costs less than what I would be paying for lunch at school.

Of course, packing a lunch daily doesn’t do any good if your child doesn’t eat it or ends up trading most of it away for junk food. The key is finding things your child loves and enjoys eating.

The Best Way To Start Is To Get Your Child Involved

Depending on the age of your kids, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches. Not only do you know that they’ll pack something they will eat, but being in charge of packing lunch will teach them responsibility.

Start by talking to your kids about what they want in their lunch box.

Make a list of options, then head to the shops, to make sure you have everything you need for the upcoming week of school.

Getting the kids as involved as possible will make sure that they end up with the lunches they will eat.

For older kids, that may mean making their own lunches (under your supervision, of course).

Younger children can help. Even your kindy can wash grapes and put them into a container or pick a snack for his/her lunch box.

Get in the habit of making lunches together the night before. But whatever you do, make sure you make it fun!

Over time you can give the kids more and more responsibility for their lunches. This alone will help make sure they eat what they’ve packed. After all, it’s the lunch they made. Along the way, you’re teaching them independence and important life skills.

Check out this amazing Daily Task Printable to help kids learn to be more independent.

Daily Task Chart

It goes without saying that you want to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods.

Insisting on all healthy, organic food options all the time may not be your best strategy, though. Strike a balance and make compromises. If your kids pack and eat a healthy wrap or salad, let them have some cookies for dessert. Teach them to make good choices, but try not to freak out if they decide to pack some Cheetos or a pack of Oreo cookies. Your goal is to get them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices, not restrict all access to junk food, causing them to trade with friends for forbidden Twinkies.

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