This has to be the most fun we've ever had packing school lunches. I have one that happens to be pretty picky and that makes school lunches downright challenging. This year, I will be having a baby 1-2 weeks after the start of school, making it essential that I have my act together with prepping everything for this year. I'm always the one that makes lunch and knows what kind of things to suggest to my 7 year old who likes 1 thing on the school lunch menu each month. Yes, month. I honestly can't imagine the Hubs in the kitchen at 6:30am trying to make sense of the "I don't like sandwiches, crunch in my peanut butter, anything that touches anything else, melted or white cheese."
So, we went to the store and made a game plan. I walked around with Cooper, giving suggestions of food items and letting him pick things that he likes. We then came home and started sorting.
First, I got 3 large and a smaller tupperware dish. You can use baskets shoe boxes, or whatever you have on hand. I split items into 4 categories: protein, fruit/veggie, fillers and treats, then set the buckets all in a row.
Fruit/Veggie Basket: (child picks 2) This basket can include fruit cups, applesauce, apple slices, Cuties, single serving of veggies in a ziplock bag (we have carrot sticks and celery), applesauce squeezers or any other type of fruit/veggie your child likes. This basket we'll keep in the fridge.
Protein Basket: (child picks 2-3) This basket can include yogurt cups or drinks, meat sticks, cheese sticks, nuts, rolled up deli meat in ziplock bags, individual peanut butter containers, or boiled eggs. My son likes to dip his apple or celery sticks into the peanut butter cups.
Filler Basket: (child picks 1-2) This basket is for granola bars, crackers, chips and popcorn.
Treat Basket: (child picks 1) This basket is for the sweet tooth! Fruit snacks, fruit leather, chocolate hazelnut butter pretzel dippers, or candy, if you'd like.
We did a test run, with Cooper packing a lunch just like he would on a school morning.
He ate everything, I was very happy with the variety and nutrition information of the items he picked and it was easy. I'm looking to minimize chaos in the mornings and this will do just that!
My favorite items in the prep were the ones from the CVS Gold Emblem Abound line. They use simple ingredients with no artificial preservatives or flavors. I love that I can go in and quickly grab anything in the line and be happy with it's ingredients. Those fruit and veggie snack bars? They may as well be a candy bar to my kids. They don't even need to know they're getting veggies and no added sugar!
What are your favorite things to add to school lunch? Have you tried Gold Emblem Abound products?
Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy for the Back to School Healthy Essentials campaign. I am being sponsored by CVS/pharmacy for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.