So I did have to pack lunches one other year (6 years ago?), when the Redhead went to an all-day autism preschool, but he likes boring lunches so it wasn't fun.
I know it's weird, and all you public school moms who've done this every day for YEARS for multiple kids are rolling your eyes at me... but yeah, I'm kinda liking this. I think we've done a pretty good job of variety for her first three weeks of school!
The first thing I did (besides completely fixate on the idea of packing lunches MONTHS ago, and making notes, researching gear, buying a book, reading blogs and pinning ideas - I did mention I fixate on stuff?) was help the Girl compile a list of foods she likes (she's picky), broken into categories. It's posted inside a cabinet door in case of bleary early-morning brain.
Also, if she complains about a fruit or veg, I can be like: Nope, it's Girl-approved, you put it on your list!
I don't mind packing her lunch for her. She has to get up so early and get ready for school (and school is a new thing!), I don't mind doing this to help her out.
I seriously don't know why I felt like documenting her lunches, but I did:
First day of school requested sandwich: Bagel with onion cream cheese, deli turkey, lettuce; pringles, dried pears, chocolate
Raisins, smoothie pop, string cheese, pretzels, cinnamon almonds, hard-boiled egg, triscuits
Corn muffins, tortilla chips, homemade (garden!) salsa, smoothie pop, dried pears, carrots + dip, hard-boiled egg
(Hard-boiled eggs have a paper twist of salt with them)
Mac'n'cheese (I try and stock up on Annie's organic when it goes on sale), carrots + dip, zucchini bread, dried pears, toffee almonds
Leftover pasta + marinara, side salad + italian dressing, raisins, string cheese, pretzels, nutella
Pizzadillas (whole wheat tortilla with 'pizza cheese' (leftover jack+cheddar+spices) and pepperoni, pizza sauce to dip, granola bite, smoothie pop, orange slices, pirate's booty
Cottage cheese, black bean hummus, pita, hard-boiled egg, orange slices, energy bites
Pirate's booty, granola bites, dried pears, string cheese, smoothie pop, hard-boiled egg, zucchini bread
Sandwich FAIL*, smoothie pop, energy bites, mixed nuts + raisins, orange slices
*I tried to make a basic PBJ sandwich with my Totoro cookie cutter. The strawberry jam came out of the eyes and looked pretty disturbing. Luckily since I did such a shoddy job of it she thought it was the Millenium Falcon and was not scarred.
Cheddar cheese-filled piroshki,* apple slices, mixed nuts
Mac'n'cheese, carrots + dip, peach cobbler, energy bites
Dumplings + rice, asian cabbage salad with sesame dressing (all from Costco, dinner the night before was easy and yummy!)
*The piroshki (filled rolls) are leftovers, they have little toothpick holes in the top so we could tell which were cheddar and which were pizza and which were keema (Indian-spiced ground beef +peas - YUM). She was boring and wanted just cheese for lunch.
French toast with syrup and apple slices, cheese stick
Grapes, laughing cow cheese, triscuits, sunflower nuts, zucchini bread, yogurt
Things of note:
We are still figuring out the right quantities of food. Breakfast is at 6am, and school isn't out till 3:30, and we are usually running her straight to dance. So snacks are needed. The first day of school she said she was hungry by the end. I think I overcompensated the next week or two! And then yesterday (french toast) she was starving again. Sometimes there is a string cheese, nutri-grain bar or something little thrown in her bag also, for her morning break in classes.
Make-aheads + leftovers are key!
Most of these photos are taken at 6am - dark + bad lighting, sorry! With the exception of the dumpling bento - I packaged that all up when I was putting away dinner leftovers. Lunch packing with leftovers rules.
If it's not leftovers, I don't pack lunch at night.
I don't pack lunches for my boys at the same time. All the same food is available to them, but why repackage it before lunch? Plates work fine and take up less dishwasher real estate. Also, The Redhead would be happy with the same lunch EVERY DAY.
Super easy veg/chip dip: equal parts Sour cream (or plain yogurt) and mayo plus a little Mrs. Dash onion + herb seasoning (purple lid). So easy, natural, and no msg, salt, or yucky stuff. You can mix up just a tiny bit for lunch if you want.
I've never bought string cheese before! The packaging + price has always held me back, but they went way on sale (back to school cheese?) and have a long expiration date and she loves them, so I did it. Easy protein, I'm sold.
Everything is served cold unless it's in a thermos jar.
Yesterday she said to me, "So, are you sick of packing my lunches yet?" And I replied, "Nope." "Good!"
A totally unnecessary gear post coming up.