Friday, April 14, 2017

Peanut Post: Preschool Lunches Part I

You didn't think I was going to pack Peanut's lunch several times a week and not take at least a few pictures, did you?  Psssh, of course not!  For the first time, I'm realizing "the big deal" with packing healthy, easy to eat quickly lunches that can be kept cool with an ice pack for several hours.  It's not as simple as it sounds!  But, never fear, here are a few fun ideas from this Mama's kitchen:
Also, see Part II here!

1.  Leftover pasta salad, whole grain fig bars, grapes (This is one of her favorites)

2.  Turkey/cheese/spinach wrap, whole grain fig bars, strawberries
(and extra leaves by request)

3.  Half PB&J sandwich, hummus with feta and carrots, dried cranberries with almonds
4.  Leftover pizza, spinach/cherry tomato "salad", blueberries, craisins/mixed nuts
5. Chicken/cheese/spinach wrap, cucumbers/tomatoes, grapes, whole grain cinnamon crackers

6. leftover pizza, tomatoes/olives, quinoa bar

7.  whole wheat pancakes/syrup, pecans, grapes
(be sure the syrup part is sealed well... ours was not)

8. apples/celery with peanut butter, cheese stick, almonds/raisins, whole grain fig Newtons.

9. turkey slices, spinach/tomato salad, olive/cheese toothpicks, cheddar bunny crackers

General tips:
- Pack for multiple days at a time and store in the fridge, ready to go.  Pack your own lunch while you're at it to cut down on time in the morning.
- Preschoolers don't eat much of any one thing, so split the wrap/sandwich and use it to make two lunches.  Cuts down on waste and time!
- Try a variety of foods and rotate so your child doesn't get bored or in a routine of eating the same thing.  Once they do, they may not want to try something new.
- Incorporate whole grains, protein, dairy, fruit and veggies, if possible.
- Use leftover lunch food as their after school snack - that way, you know they are getting all of those carefully balanced nutrients you worked so hard to include.  And again, less waste.
- Finger foods are always a bonus for this age.  But it never hurts to send a fork/spoon once in awhile for favorites, such as pasta salad.
- Pack realistic portions for your child's appetite and the time allotted for lunch.
- Not a must, but out of courtesy, try to limit the number of lids/wrappers/containers the poor preschool teachers have to unwrap - remember it could be whatever you send times 20! Practice with your child to see if they can open them on their own.  Sectioned containers work well - at the very least, it's only one lid. (Annalyn has no problem with these containers.)

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