Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lunch Box Ideas

It has been so nice that for the past 5 years my kids have been in daycare and I have never had to worry about packing a lunch for them BUT on Thursday I start. I have been looking around the blogosphere for some ideas however all I've seen are these elaborate sandwiches cut into shapes that look more like art than food. I mean seriously, who has time for all that. 

Cute, but a little over the top. 

To keep it simple, I wrote down a list of foods my daughter likes to eat. I separated them into categories: Protein, Fruits, Veggies, Salty, Sweets, and Dips. This now gives me a visual of things I can add to her lunch box everyday. Pick one from each category (or most of them) and there you have an easy lunch planned! 

Here are some examples of food in each category: 

Protein - 
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Chicken Salad
  • Tuna salad
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Peanut Butter
  • Yogurt 

** These can be done as sandwiches. Also, you can vary these with different types of bread such as wraps or pitas, or even no bread at all! 

  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Raisins
  • Pineapple
  • Apples or Applesauce
  • Banana

  • Carrot Sticks
  • Celery
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
Dips (for veggies)
  • Ranch
  • Hummus
  • Peanut Butter

  • Pretzels
  • Veggies Chips
  • Crackers - Goldfish, Ritz, etc..
  • Sun Chips
  • Mini Rice Cakes - various flavors

  • Granola Bar
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Rice Krispy Treats
  • Pudding
  • Jello
  • Fruit Snacks

I thought it'd be a great idea to have some kind of chart with all this information, but alas someone had already thought of that! The one and only Martha Stuart has a printable weekly lunch chart, separated into categories similar to what I posted above. Print this off with magnetic paper,sheets and have your child help plan their weekly lunches.  You can download it here. 

If that is too much work, just make your own list and have it handy in the kitchen. Grab the list and take it to the grocery store with you too! Makes it super easy. 

You can also write the week's menu choices down with a white board or chalk board and keep in the kitchen like this found on Disney's Family Fun site. 

A few more ideas I have found that you may not have thought of (I didn't either!). 

Image via {A Few Shortcuts}

Meat & Cheese Skewers

Since I don't have any of my own lunch box photos (yet) check out this site for more lunch box ideas! 

Please feel free to share your ideas with me too! What other foods does your child like to eat? 

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