As part of my countdown to kindergarten, I have been tirelessly researching lunch ideas for my five year old. Knowing she isn’t very fond of vegetables or meats unless they are craftily mixed into meals, I have found the best solutions online. Pinterest has come to my rescue again. I feel if anything like I have a digital spouse. I can find anything on pinterest. House ideas, DIY projects, affordable solutions and my favorite- recipes!!
One awesome thing I discovered was multiple ideas on how to create snack drawers! By bagging and sealing many snacks ahead of time, I could just grab something each day for my child’s lunch box. Why is that so simple and yet I never thought of it? Thank you digital spouse. Simply purchase a dollar store (dollar tree is our favorite) container bin in a cool color and label it with an index card as “snacks” if your super crafty like me! Sure we can identify the bucket by looking at it. But what about your little kindergartener who is very observant and very obsessed with opening the fridge? Its educational.
Next, get some super cheap and awesome zip lock bags (Target makes bright colored ones) and a sharpie. If you feel up to it, do what I do and stock your kitchen junk drawer (come on, we all have one) with post its, tape, index cards, markers and cute stickers. The dollar store has all that stuff so you wont be spending a lot and you will spruce up the lunches with labels. Your learning child can get used to the items along with their words.
Make sure you get a variety of snacks for them. Kids go through so many fazes with food. One week they love strawberries. The next week they think they are the scum of the earth. Get some dips like cottage cheese, peanut butter and even wowbutter (made with sunflower seed oil). Its great to provide dips when packing celery, cheese sticks, pretzels, biscuits, fruits chopped and finger foods. Raisins are great but can get boring too. Try some dried fruit or craisins to mix it up a bit.
My daughter loves grilled cheese and quesadillas so I have looked up things I can add to them. I loved the idea of grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Also. Adding spinach and mozzarella cheese fried on bread. I have slipped many vegetables into wraps and quesadillas. Sour cream or home made dressings on the side are good for kids who love to dip.
Wrap roll ups seem like the best invention in the world. I have wrapped up spreads, pbj, deli meats and veggies for her then cut it like sushi. One thing I saw was rolling up pbj in wheat wraps and freezing them. You can thaw it anytime or pack it frozen so it’ll be thawed by the time lunch comes around at school.
On the subject of frozen foods, i saw these fruit cups on a woman’s blog and fell in love. My child hates applesauce by itself. I want to buy frozen fruit bag varieties and sort them into each cup. Then every cup is covered and froze again. Pack it in a small ziplock container to be thawed by lunch time. It keeps fruit fresh and saves you money since fruit won’t go bad so fast if frozen!!
My last favorite that I will be trying are the muffin recipes I have been finding. Any can be googled but a good suggestion of mine is weelicious and allrecipes.com. I have both mini muffin and regular sized tins which I use at least once a week. We use paper cups to avoid having to spray butter ( I end up inhaling it and feeling gross). The recipes call for ingredients like baby food, meat, spaghetti and even bacon!
One fun idea is to make mini corn muffins with chopped hotdog slices in each muffin. Another recipe was for delicious zucchini and cheddar muffins. Many required just flour, baking soda, chopped fruits and baby food puree. How cool and useful huh?
Well I am way too busy to sit around all day during the semesters and cook/bake for my little one. I am not a stay at home mom and am the only bread winner. So I have decided to make efficient grocery lists based on these recipes. I also use small accordion recipe folders for ideas and coupons. You don’t have to tackle it all at once. Spread ideas out and see what items are on sale during each season. I also think that setting an hour on the weekend to prepare this stuff and then freeze it is awesome!!! If you lay out a chunk of time on the weekend, you van pack lunches super fast during the week. I know this weekend I’ll be hitting up dollar tree and trader joes for most of the ingredients and supplies. So worth it in the end. I also am ordering rubber cupcake baking cups on amazon( sets of 12 for less than $15.00) which are reusable for baking and great for dividing foods in a container.
Well that’s it for now! Can’t wait to post when I try it all out!!!!