I’ve been asked on several occasions how I manage to pack my daughter’s lunches. Some wonder if I cook the food in the morning. Some even think I’m probably already up making lunches by 5am. The truth is, I am not quite the morning person I might have projected myself to be. But a mom’s got to do, what a mom’s got to do. And like I always say, I have no excuse not to be able to send my first grader to school with a yummy lunch. I believe it’s in my job description. Hee hee.
Here are my 2-cents as far as home-prepared lunchables are concerned:
1. Involve your child in the menu planning. Very rarely will they ask for beef wellington or a medium well fillet mignon, if at all. :) Compromise will be key.
2. Try to set aside a portion of the night’s meal for your child’s lunch the next day, specially if the dish happens to be his/her favorite.
3. Always make sure you have fruits and vegetables in your home-prepared lunchables. Your child has favorite fruits and vegetables. Try not to run out of them. Fruit cups should be fine, but please check the sugar content.
4. Cut the vegetables and fruits ahead of time so you can just grab the containers they’re in in the morning and scoop them into the lunch containers.
5. Whenever you’re preparing family meals, try to make extra that you can freeze, specially if the dishes are freeze friendly, say, pasta sauce, meatballs, dumplings, etc. You can very easily thaw them in the fridge the night before (if the food needs thawing) or reheat them in the oven or stovetop.
6. Always, always read the labels on frozen and pre-packaged food. I understand that they can be our best friends, specially when we’re running short on time. But be mindful of the sodium and sugar content. One rule I always try to follow is not to buy food items, the ingredients of which I can’t pronounce. ;) No to MSG and high fructose corn syrup, no ifs and buts! Having said that, I’ve long said buh-bye to Spam and corned beef. Huhuhu.
7. Use containers that are BPA free! Never, never reheat food in the microwave in a plastic container. Again, no ifs and buts!
8. In the name of earth friendliness, keep the use of plastics (snack bags and utensils) to a minimum or don’t use them at all. Reusable containers and utensils are best!
9. Surprise your child with a note in her lunch bag, wishing him/her a lovely day and to enjoy her meal. Resist the temptation to add that you woke up really early to prepare it when you would have preferred to stay in dreamland. Hee hee.
10. Have fun!
That’s about it. Oh, one more thing, it might help to take pictures, which may or may not inspire you to continue what you’re doing and be better at it. It works for me!