I have been posting photos of Hudson's school lunches on Instagram and Facebook. It's become a thing for me. In that I am really having a lot of fun with it all. Makes sense though, it combines food with fun little containers, all things I like. The icing on the cake is that Hudson has been enjoying it too. And eating most/all of it. I thought I would post a little round up of the lunches so far and share a few of my time saving tips and tricks. For more on where I bought all my supplies look here.
I am not often starting from scratch every morning. My freezer is my lunch life saver (also my dinner life saver). Spaghetti and chicken noodle soup are lunch favorites. I freeze lunch size portions in mason jars. I pop them in the fridge the night before, into the microwave in the morning and into his Thermos. I like using mason jars because they are great in the freezer and microwave. I also batch make and freeze things like: Sunbutter and jam roll ups, cream cheese and cinnamon pin wheels, mini pizzas, quesadillas and smoothies. I always make his lunch the night before, so things thaw in the fridge overnight. I find it takes some of the crazy out of the morning rush. I also keep homemade mini-muffins, pumpkin loaf, mini-naan breads, individual hummus portions, pancakes and waffles in the freezer, I store them in large ziptop bags so I can see what there is. This allows me to offer a variety of foods while minimizing waste. I cannot stand food waste.
I do follow a sort of formula for building his lunch. I aim for an entrée type item, a fruit, a veggie, a snacky type item and a protein food (cheese, Greek yogurt, seeds, nuts, nut butter for dipping, etc). I only send water to drink. I often include some kind of treat like food, but I keep the portions small, so he doesn't fill up on it and ignore the rest of his lunch.
Hudson was not really a veggie guy. At the start of school he only ate carrots. By adding a few things into his lunch he has expanded to celery, snap peas and raw green beans. That is enough to float my lunch making boat right there. Cucumbers are still a no go. He also added pears and raspberries to his fruit repertoire.
So onto the food:
Top left: Cheddar cubes, turkey pepperoni, apple, brown rice crackers, apple and Greek yogurt in the Squooshi. Top right: Homemade bison burger, strawberries, Babybel cheese and unsweetened apple sauce in the Squooshi. Bottom Left: Spaghetti and turkey meat balls, mozza chees string, grapes, popcorn and unsweetened apple sauce in the Squooshi. Bottom right: Sunbutter and homemade raspberry freezer jam roll-ups, banana chocolate chip mini-muffins, mozza cubes, grapes and Greek yogurt in the Squooshi.
Top left: Left over Mac and Cheese, Triscuits with Sunbutter to dip, pear and mandarin oranges. Top right: Carrots and snap peas, pretzels to dip in hummus, mozza cubes, apple and Cheerios. Bottom left: Low sodium pickles, turkey pepperoni, marble cheese, brown rice crackers, sunflower seeds and strawberries. Bottom right: Homemade chicken noodle soup, raspberries, dye-free marites, pretzels and strawberry yogurt in the Squooshie.
Top Left: Mini-nann bread, carrots and snap peas, hummus, raspberries, yogurt and sunflower and pumpkin seed mix. Top right: grilled cheese with ketchup, cucumber slices, plain potato chips, yogurt and banana. Bottom left: Ham, cheese and pickle kabobs, carrots and snap peas, Triscuits, strawberries and Shreddies. Bottom right: whole wheat mini-bagel with Sunbutter and honey, carrot coins, roasted pumpkin seeds, chocolate covered pretzels and unsweetened apple and pomegranate sauce.
Top left: Cinnamon brown sugar steel cut oats (made with milk), Babybel cheese, banana chocolate chip mini-muffin, strawberries and strawberry banana smoothie in the Squooshi. Top right: Whole wheat Sunbutter and honey mini-bagel, roasted pumpkin seeds, carrot coins, unsweetened apple and pomegranate sauce and chocolate covered pretzels. Bottom left: Stawberry cream cheese waffle sammie, mozza cubes, seed puck, strawberry and orange combo and unsweetened apple sauce in the Squooshi. Bottom right: Mini-naan with Sunbutter and homemade raspberry jam to dip, grapes, banana chocolate chip mini-muffins and a raspberry, banana, pineapple smoothie in the Squooshi.
Top Left: Homemade chicken chow mien, Cheerios, Sunbutter celery boats, orange and raspberry combo and cheddar blocks. Top right: Smoked salmon and cream cheese pinwheels, grapes, mandarin orange, pistachios, Babybel cheese and pumpkin loaf. Bottom left: Spaghetti, watermelon and raspberries, sunflower seeds and Green peas crisps. Bottom right: Marble cheddar and mustard bunwhich, raspberry almond poppers, carrot sticks, yogurt and alphabet pretzels.
Top left: Salami provolone roll ups, Christmas crackers, carrots and celery, hummus, yogurt and chocolate coin. Top right: Cheese and micro layer of refried beans quesadilla, Babybel cheese, tortilla chips, fruit salad, Greek yogurt topped with cinnamon. Bottom left: Make your own pizza with mini-naan breads, honey mandarins, nuts & bolts and yogurt. Bottom right: Lasagna, garlic toast, apple, cheddar bricks and celery sticks.
I am hoping this post helps as one stop spot for lunch ideas, for those days when you are stuck or feeling uninspired. I love to hear what you are making and what your kids are loving too. All ideas welcome. Enjoy the winter break from school and lunch making. I will be back to posting school lunches in the new year.
Tiffany McFadden, RD