As many of you may know, I love a good lunchbox. The warm feelings I have toward lunchboxes started when I was a young, married dental student. My husband and I were both in school, and to save money, I packed our lunches every day. My husband’s lunchbox was one we had received as a promotional happy at a conference. He had used it for several years, and the zipper began to snag, the lining began to tear, and overall, had begun to be a little dingy.
We did not have a lot of extra spending money, but I took it upon myself to purchase my husband a new lunchbox. It was nothing fancy, but when I sent him off to school for the day with his new one, his eyes lit up. “You got me a new lunchbox!” he exclaimed. It was as though he thought I had hung the moon. Ever since that day, I have had a warm place in my heart for the common lunchbox.
When my oldest child started school last year, I let her buy her lunch one day a week, but I packed her lunch on the remaining days. My oldest daughter is not picky when it comes to food, but she does have a strong opinion on what she would like in her lunch. She wants variety and just because she liked something last week, does not mean she will still like it this week. Sound familiar?
As a mom, one of the hardest things about packing a lunch is thinking of options to put in the lunchbox. I try to pack a protein, a fruit, a vegetable, dairy, a carbohydrate, and a small treat.
Nuts, peanut butter, lunch meat, salami/pepperoni, beef jerky, hard boiled egg, hummus, rotisserie chicken, chicken nuggets
Berries, apples, pears, plums, peaches, cherries, grapes, cherry tomatoes, olives
Carrot sticks, celery, peppers, cucumbers, pickles
Cheese stick, cheese slices, yogurt, cottage cheese
Sandwich bread, flatbread/naan, pretzels, chips, crackers, granola
A piece of chocolate, gummy snacks, chocolate covered raisins
In my apple and peanut butter lunchbox, I tried to follow these same principles. I wanted to pick out things that would taste good dipped in the peanut butter, although my daughter has been known to eat peanut butter with a spoon.
Protein: peanut butter
Fruit: apple (I cut the apple into slices and added it to a zipper topped bag with orange juice to keep from browning)
Dairy: cheese stick
Small treat: chocolate
Other examples of lunchboxes would be:
- Breakfast for lunch – yogurt, granola with almonds, berries
- Hummus, carrots, cashews, naan as seen here
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, cheese stick
- Chicken noodle soup with crackers and a plum
- Make your own pizza: salami, shredded cheese, tomato sauce, olives, flat bread, orange
- Ham, cheese slices, crackers, pear
The combinations are endless! When you have a list of things your children like, it is easy to swap things in and out. These options are also adult friendly if you take your lunch with you. I sure do look forward to my lunch break, and one of these days, I may make a post on packing a lunch that can get you through the middle of your day too!