The new school year is approaching- fast! Kids need a nutritious and delicious lunch to get them through the school day. Brush up on your bagged lunch skills with these top tips from our pros in the Wesson Kitchen:
1. Be Prepared
The key to weekday morning success is to prepare school lunches the night before. To take it up a notch, try prepping lunches for the entire week on Sunday evening. Instead of cutting veggies and cheese slices daily, try cutting them in a large batch and storing in a tightly-sealed container for the week. Likewise, freeze individually wrapped muffins and cookies. Once taken out of the freezer, they will thaw by lunch time. Finally, try making a large batch of soup, egg salad, or pasta salad for the majority of the week’s lunches. A large batch of our Deli Pasta Salad requires no re-heating, and can be portioned out for 6 meals!
2. Think Beyond the Sandwich
While we love a good sandwich, variety is key to keeping school lunches. Enter bento boxes, which offer maximum variety at lunch time. Try packing a tortilla, cheese, tomatoes, salsa and beans for a mini taco bar to go. Or, fill the bento box compartments with lunch meat, cheese, crackers, and fruit for a portable charcuterie platter.
3. Or Just Mix it Up!
Sandwiches don’t need to be the same every day. Instead of using sandwich bread, try serving chicken salad in a whole wheat tortilla. Similarly, cream cheese and jelly tastes great between two waffles. Or try spreading hummus, sprouts, chopped tomatoes, and shredded cheese onto a naan bread and fold.
4. Keep it Familiar
School lunch is usually not the best time to introduce new foods, especially for younger children. Lunch time should be for eating lunch, not for examining a strange new food item. Aim for a balanced meal, and try packing foods that your kids already know and (hopefully) love.
5. Get the Kids Involved
Finally, encourage kids to help plan, assemble, and pack their own lunches. Planning healthy lunches is a great way to introduce kids to nutrition and balanced meals. Older kids can handle the responsibility of packing their entire lunch, while younger children can help by slicing fruit and veggies with a kid-safe knife and placing into individual containers.