School Lunch Ideas!

With three kids at school full time this year the boxed lunch struggle is real. I have never liked packing lunches (who does!?), which is one of the reasons I love having my kids eat lunch at home twice a week. It's not even that it's so complicated, but it's my least favourite chore! Virtually all schools are nut free now which nixes our favourite cashew-based energy balls and classic pb and j or my kid's prized creation, pb and cream cheese. Does anyone else get into a lunch packing rut and feel like there are no options your kids will actually like? I feel this way at least once a week, haha!

I teamed up with Love Child Organics to challenge myself to create four new lunches, all featuring protein, fresh fruit and veggies, filling snacks, and healthy mains. Want to see what I come up with? See below for my tips to make lunch packing easier and more eco-friendly, too! 

Lunch mains (that aren't sandwiches) you may not have thought of:

  • Meat or cheese tortellini tossed in some olive oil or pesto to stay moist
  • 1-2 hard boiled eggs
  • Charcuterie - turkey breast or salami with your favourite cheese 
  • Pita or tortilla and a filling dip like hummus
  • Cold grain salad - pasta, rice, quinoa, barley with some fresh veg and dressing

Snacks we love:
  • Bite-sized veggies (cherry tomatoes, cut up cucumbers, bell peppers, baby carrots)
  • Sliced apples, peaches, pears, etc. (whole fruits are less interesting and hard for those with loose teeth, but if I slice anything, they'll gobble it up!)
  • Simple baked goods like banana muffins or oatmeal cookies (I bake a big batch and freeze them, putting the frozen treat right in their lunches - by lunch hour it's perfectly thawed)
  • Owlies - these are our all time favourite, and are made with spelt. Even I nibble on them lol!
  • Love Ducks - these are a light puffy snack that have a fun crunch without being unhealthy
  • Oaty Chomps - oat snack bars for when I don't have a simple baked good to offer!
Tips for Eco-friendly, Healthy, and Easier Bagged Lunches:

Our kids eat at home twice a week and I love the ease and pace of cooking a meal together midday. It also means we don't have to bring anything pre-packaged or in zip lock bags or stress about packing the lunches at all! To make your kid's lunches more eco-friendly, simple, and cost effective too, here are a few ideas we've started using since our kids have been in school. 
  • Use washable, reusable lunch containers and lunch bags instead of paper or plastic bags
  • Buy a bunch of silverware at the thrift store for their meals that require a spoon or fork. Of course they'll probably lose several, which is why you don't want to send your family silverware off to school with your kids, but it's a better option than plastic forks that will end up in a landfill!
  • If you send napkins in their lunches, send a cloth one instead to be washed and reused (we don't actually do this because we don't send napkins at all, but I know many parents do)
  • Water bottles to be refilled. We never send juice boxes because our kids only drink juice on special occasions, but will occasionally send a Lil Shake Smoothie if supper will be later than usual or they haven't eaten well as of late. As I've said before, these are awesome for travel!
  • Pack lunches the night before while you're prepping, cooking, or cleaning up from supper. This is the time when my kitchen is already messy, food is coming and going from the fridge, and the cutting board is likely on the counter. For us, it's the best time. Mornings, on the other hand are too rushed and stressful to think of adding that task!
  • Chop a week's worth of veggies and set aside in a big zip lock bag for easy access when you're packing lunches. Fruit doesn't keep when cut so you can't do this as easily, but we tend to pack whole fruits anyway (clementines, bananas, etc).
I hope this was helpful! I can't quite figure out why I hate packing lunches so much (I know I'm not the only one!), but these steps have helped make the task less annoying over the years. I'd love to hear what your kids love in their lunches!

This post was in collaboration with Love Child Organics,
a Canadian company I've supported for years. As always,
all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
To book a collaboration, please contact me!

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