It seems surreal that I am not going back to school soon. Usually by now, I have been working in my classroom, ironing outfits and meal-prepping. I guess it will finally sink in when I see my first school bus picking up at the corner.
Over my 25 years of teaching, I have witnessed a many a lunch from home. I have seen just about everything. Mostly, for convenience-sake, I realize, I saw many, many bought “lunchables.”
My gripe with these is not the convenience, but the low nutritional value they provide along with the additives, preservatives and sodium.
Through my teaching experience, I also found through the years that children will actually eat and enjoy eating something they actually made. Even the pickiest eater I have seen try some strange foods just because they were involved in the preparation process.
Keeping all of this in mind, I would like you to consider trying these recyclable, BPA-free Bento Boxes to be filled by your child for their school lunches. I found this one at Target but you can order it here, too. This one has a hot-food option.It comes with two removable ice packs that snap into the lid.It also comes with five different compartments that can be moved around and changed to fit your lunch.How to Teach Your Child to Make His/Her “Lunchable:”
- Purchase healthy items to have on hand for your child to place into the compartments. Before going to the grocery store, ask your child to list items they would like that are within the main food categories. Encourage whole food options over processed, sugary ones.
- Cut up any foods, like apples, cheeses, meats, etc., beforehand. Place into a container that you or your child can just pull out of the fridge before making lunch.
- Place 5 or 6 items on the counter with your clean Bento Box and let your child fill each food compartment.Here we have sliced cheese, uncured pepperoni slices, gluten-free crackers, grapes and coconut chips (for dessert).
Other healthy options include: veggies and hummus or ranch, edamame, tree-free nuts like sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches, turkey and cheese tortilla roll-ups, olives, pickles, fruits of any kind, chips and salsa, yogurt with fruit and honey, chocolate squares/kisses, granola and dried fruit of any kind.
A teacher’s worst nightmare scenarios for lunch are:
- Anything that needs heating up. Remember it is the teacher’s lunchtime, too. This takes away from them eating their lunch.
- Mandarin oranges in plastic cup with juice. It always explodes everywhere, and you step on sticky floors all day.
- Go-gurt. It is hard to open and when it does finally get open, it also explodes everywhere.
- Pouch drinks. The straws are a pain to insert, especially in the organic brands.
- Anything your child can’t open. For drinks, the Camelback-type water bottles are the best. They have a flip-top that is easy for the child to open and close.
I know you think your child might not be able to do all of this, but even just picking grapes off the stems is including them in the process. This will ensure he/she doesn’t come home with a lunchbox full of food.
I hope these tips help. I pray everyone’s school year starts off effortlessly and without any anxiety or nervousness.