Friday, August 19, 2011

School Lunch Ideas

I taught a little class on ideas for school lunch. Nerve wracking eh? I thought I'd share my thoughts with you all!! Sorry I didn't take pictures of the samples I served - but I'll make those sandwiches again soon and take pictures then!

First Things First
Give your kids choices. What will they eat – what do they eat? Include them in the meal planning for the week. Let them explore food and encourage them to try new things before packing it in their lunch. My kids are always more open to trying something if they know what is in it – and if they’ve had a hand in making it. I always tell my kids “just try a bite – if you don’t like it – that’s fine – you don’t have to have any more” and that's it. This little sentence has gotten my kids to realize that they love things like beets and asparagus!!! I usually don't try to get them to eat that particular item for another 6 months to a year. Maybe they'll never like a certain food - but if they are willing to try different foods that's all I can ask.

Hot and Cold
Soup – use a coffee thermos cup
To keep things warm – use a heat pack
To keep things cool – use a freezer pack, frozen juice box or water bottle

Sandwich Ideas
Homemade Lunchables: English muffin, pepperonis, shredded cheese with a side of pizza sauce or marinara
Easter Ham, cheese and crackers
Cucumber and cream cheese on bagel thins
Sushi wrap – tortilla, rice, carrots, cucumber, wasabi mayo, avocado
Salad wraps
*Turkey, raspberry chipotle, cream cheese, lettuce wrapped in a tortilla
*Ham, cheese, pesto and bread

Warm or Cold Pasta
Pasta + Dressing + Veggies + protein = fast, easy lunch

My son loves BBQ Sauce. One of his fav sandwiches is whole wheat bread, ham and BBQ sauce. Not appealling to me AT ALL - but it's something he'll eat. Work around their likes and dislikes. Just because it may not be conventional doesn't mean it isn't out of bounds - right?

This is a big one for me. Think about what your kids like. If you can find a dip that your child likes - you have the key to having them love fresh veggies or fruit for the rest of their lives. Seriously. My son is allergic to eggs, so he can't have most salad dressings. I started drizzling honey on his salads a few years ago instead of dressing and he ate it up like crazy. He is at the point now that he knows which veg he likes and will eat them with or without honey - b/c he knows he likes the vegetable - pretty amazing hu?

Mayo - tons of flavor options out there
BBQ Sauce
Ranch dressing
Salad dressing
Honey Mustard
Sweet and Sour
Cream Cheese
Peanut Sauce

Grape Tomatoes
Small sweet peppers
Celery Sticks
Trail Mix
Bag of nuts
String Cheese
Dried Fruit

Beat The Soggy Effect
Pack bread and condiments separately OR put condiment in the middle of the sandwich –put the cheese or lettuce (pat dry) next to the bread.

Fun ideas
Cookie cutters for sandwiches or fruit and veg
Little notes – offer encouragement, give reminders, share your thoughts, show appreciation, etc.

So there you go - a few ideas - I'd love you to share your ideas too!!

*For those of you that were there - these were the samples we ate

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