I can hardly believe it, but school is right around the corner, and in fact, some have already rounded that corner! With school days on the horizon, chances are packing regular lunches is one of the forthcoming “chores” of running a home that can get mundane.
It may be still summer break for my family, but I find myself packing lunches for the kids and myself at least a few times a week for all of our outings to the pool, beach, botanical gardens and more.
Whether it’s for school or a family outing, I tend to get stuck in a rut– packing PB & Js in a standard lunch more often than I like.
In case you’re fighting the same fight, I wanted to offer some creative ways to change things up in the packed lunch department. It’s time to think outside the lunchbox (sorry, couldn’t help it with that one) and get some fun and healthy variety in our packed lunches.
If you’re looking for something creative to take the place of the sandwich, here are a few ideas:
- veggies and and a little container of hummus dip
- a sandwich roll, sliced and laid in a container on their side (see photo above for our latest creation, made on rectangular lavash “bread”)– we call this “sandwich sushi”
- a “bowl” (container with a lid) of PB (or other nut/seed butter) and jelly, served with whole wheat crackers or a rice cake
- good quality cheese cubes, cut up nitrate-free meat and crackers for a homemade version of icky processed Lunchables
Photo by Muffin Tin Mom
Muffin tin lunches
My friend Michelle writes a super cute blog called Muffin Tin Mom where she shares all sorts of cute ways to use muffin tins and cups for lunch. One thing I love to do in my daughter’s lunch is to place a few flower-shaped silicone muffin liners/cups in a larger container, with a small item in each flower.
Not only do muffin cups separate the food nicely, they also are flexible enough to fit well into a larger container and they look cute, too.
On her blog, Michelle has lots of ideas for themed meals which would be really fun in a packed lunch. My daughter would get a kick out of a color-themed meal, and she loves it when I cut her sandwiches in cute shapes with a cookie cutter (isn’t that the mom life, eating the leftover edges of a kid’s sandwich?).
Don’t forget a note from mom!
Packing a lunch for a child is the perfect opportunity to send a little extra love your kid’s direction. I love sending little notes in my daughter’s lunch; since she can’t read yet, I often just send a doodle I drew for her or a simple message.
If you want to get über-cute, choose any of these sweet printables I found with a simple Pinterest search.
But there’s something about a hand-written, hand-drawn note, too. I read somewhere once (probably on a blog, although I forgot where) about the idea to keep a stash of notes in a jar in the kitchen. Kids will be excited to see a familiar note or drawing, and that makes lunch-packing simpler, too.
As long as the notes come home in decent condition, I save them in my jar to use again another day. When Gigi can read, I’ll probably change them up more but for now, rotating through them works great!
Are you feeling daunted by the thought of packing lunches for school or family outings? What are your go-to creative elements that you serve to keep things fresh?