What’s for Lunch?

School Lunch Dilemma

School is fast approaching and that means school lunches will be back in the kitchen routine. Hmmmm!

I have been reading about healthy ideas for kids lunches and recently had a discussion concerning family food ideas with a dietician colleague. She has the same issues with kids lunches…how do you make the interesting and tasty?

So much time goes into meal planning at my house and always has. Good healthy meals have forever been a priority of mine. It was handed down to me by my own grandmother. She made a delicious dinner every night. My mother was a single mom and worked full-time. Since my grandmother lived with us she took over cooking. Most nights, we all would have dinner together. It was an important time for us to catch up with each other and one that I looked forward to.

This fall, I am going to help prepare daily lunches for pre-school…the challenge begins and I am up to it! I think…

Creativity in lunch preparation has long gone from my food prep repertoire . Personally, I take my own lunch to work…it suits me…although it is far from creative… it is usually healthy.

Recently, on my trips to Whole Foods, I find myself looking at Bento boxes and flipping through Parents Magazine for hints as to how to be creative. I want to fix something healthy and interesting….food that a four-year old will enjoy at lunch time.

Our school is a nut free environment, which is of concern to our family, because our little preschooler has a nut allergy. As you probably know, nut allergies can be life threatening. So along with lunch goes the EpiPen, which is kept at school in case of a severe reaction.

I have decided to try the Bento Box…mainly to keep things interesting and organized for our little one and ourselves. The small containers will allow for a few little snack type foods like veggies, dips and grapes (cut in half) to avoid choking, another concern of mine as a pediatric nurse.

Kids have very small “windpipes 

they can easily be occluded by

a food as tiny as a grape, nut

or a chunk of hot dog.

The larger containers will be great for a sandwich, salad or something like a shish-ka-bob without the stick.

I am also purchasing a lunch bag to carry the bento box… that will make it easier to put some “blue ice” inside, keeping food cool and protected from bacteria growth.

A soup thermos also caught my eye…so, we have that as well. It allows us to change-up the menu and include some favorite soups with noodles and some veggies.

So far the food thing is coming together…now for the drinks. Milk really turns me off…no matter what, milk gets warm and there is nothing more distasteful! Water is really perfect with a squirt of juice or even a little mint. Our little one likes juice so a 50-50 juice-sparkling water is a nice variation. One suggestion from Parents Magazine suggests freezing the juice overnight so that it is slushy by lunchtime…great idea.

Parents Magazine, September 2012 issue has some wonderful top chef choices for the lunch box routine. None of them are too difficult…I give this particular article two thumbs up.

What are some of your suggestions for the lunch box dilemma every morning?

Note: I am a grandmother, whose daughter lets me get involved in the food/lunch dilemma because I really enjoy it… we do all of it together and fortunately we have the same dietary concerns for children. It is my pleasure to share with you as we navigate this together.

Related links:

Upgrade Your Lunch Box: Tips For Packing A Creative Lunch – Parenthood.com.

http://www.genconnect.com/health/top-chef-susan-feniger-ming-tsai-on-healthy-back-to-school-foods/

4 thoughts on “What’s for Lunch?

  1. I completely agree, the school lunch dilema can be a challenge. However there’s really no limit to what you can do for your kids with a little creative input. There is so much information about nutrition and almost limitless amounts of fun ideas to get kids eating healthy.
    Best of luck, thanks for the post!

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