Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to School Lunches

The other day our minds began drifting to school days again and we began discussing the newest change in our lives- the idea of having lunch at school!

No longer a half-day kindergartener, my daughter is thrilled at the prospect of having lunch at school. She relishes the thought of taking her lunch bag, thermos and water bottle to school every day. I told her she could come home some days for lunch and I received a rather stern reply, "No, thanks." Ah, the joys of independence!

Back when I was teaching in the school system, I would see some rather interesting lunches...pop and chips, a cold McDonalds happy meal or a plastic bag full of everything 7-11 carries. It was sad to see the fuel that some kids had to go on for the day. Not exactly brain food.

I did enjoy seeing the nicely packed lunches- sometimes there were cut out sandwiches in little shapes, a little skewer of brightly coloured fruit, a homemade cookie- all things that showed a little love. I was inspired.

I hope that by packing a healthy and homemade lunch, I can show my daughter a little love in her lunchbox. And if she doesn't yet realize it, a more tangible way to show her love is to include a little note, so I keep a little package of sticky notes on the fridge with a pen and stickers. I recently found a great little booklet with tear-out lunch jokes for my little comedienne, which will be a great little addition too.

Here is my daughter's list of favourite foods that we came up to keep us both inspired for back to school lunches. I think I will be posting them on the fridge for ideas when I do too many repeats. I really liked her ideas so I thought I would share them with you in case you are in the same lunch box boat!

Lunchbox  Ideas (always with a side of veggies)

Baked Beans in thermos with buttered bread
Quesadilla on whole wheat tortilla with bean and cheese & sour cream
Cucumber & cream cheese sandwiches
Buckwheat crepes & fruit
Tuna sandwich with cookie cutter shape
Cold hamburger (hmmm...interesting suggestion?)
Cream cheese, celery and raisin logs with honey'd bread
Hard boiled egg, buttered bread, veggie sticks
Cream cheese & veggie roll up on whole wheat tortilla (grated carrots, sliced red pepper, cuke)
Cucumber & avocado sushi with soy sauce
Chickpea salad with veggies
Grated carrot salad with edamame and crackers
Whole wheat pizza with cheese and organic sliced meat
Real macaroni & cheese (not the bright orange version)
Chicken Noodle Soup in thermos
Pasta Salad
Tofu, veggie & rice in thermos or fried rice in thermos
Snack Ideas

Usually some fruit in there but sometimes applesauce for a treat
Veggies on a stick- tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers, etc.
Fruit salad or a skewer of fruit- grapes, halved strawberries, etc.
Yogurt or yogurt dip with sliced apples
Cheese & rice crackers
Kids' own trail mix: cereal, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and chocolate chips
Popcorn with nutritional yeast
Seaweed (Laver)
Homemade muffins, cookies or squares (especially pumpkin & blueberry ones and banana bread)

Currently I am in the middle of baking and freezing the following for our easy lunch treats:

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Bake about 375 for about 18-20 minutes):

Chocolate Flaxeed Cookies with Dried Cranberries:

Pumpkin Muffins:

Asteroid Cookies: