It can be a real challenge to add some fun and variety to elementary school aged children’s brown bagged lunches. This is never truer than towards the end of the school year when parents and kids alike are sick of the sight of peanut butter and jelly and carrot sticks. After working diligently all morning on reading, writing and arithmetic, our little ones deserve a fun and flavorful lunch that not only offers nutrition, but a bit of love from home as well. Here are some ideas on how to reignite the excitement of a bagged lunch when that midday bell rings.
Home Grown Fruits And Vegetables. If you are one of the millions of families that takes advantage of your plot of land to grow your own tomatoes, cucumbers or strawberries, include them in your child’s brown bagged lunch. A sandwich made with tomatoes from the backyard or a container of strawberries that you and your child lovingly grew with your own hands will not only taste better, but provide a source of pride for your child to share. If you freeze or can your fruits and vegetables, you can have these on hand all during the school year.
Slip In A Love Note. I have always included little notes in my children’s lunch bags to let them know I was thinking of them throughout the day. If your child had less than a stellar start to the school day, a few little lines of affection from Mom or Dad will surely give them a lift and remind them that your love is never far away.
Include Holiday Themed Food Items. Take advantage of the upcoming holiday and add a little festivity to your son or daughter’s brown bagged lunch. Think orange slices and pretzel sticks for Halloween with a few pieces of candy corn thrown in, red jello and green grapes for Christmas and a heart shaped sandwich for Valentine’s Day. Think about what your child likes and use the traditional colors of the holiday to jazz up their lunch.
Dust Off Those Cookie Cutters! Your tin of holiday themed cookie cutters can be used all through the school year. Give that peanut butter or ham sandwich a fun twist by cutting it out with a cookie cutter. Who says you can’t pack a bunny shaped sandwich in the beginning of October or a turkey shaped sandwich in May? You can turn it into a game by surprising your child one day a week with a special sandwich made just for them.
Pack Up Those Leftovers. If your child is partial to a particular meal or dish, make a little extra when you are cooking it for dinner and include the leftovers in their lunch the next day. Not only will their favorite home cooked meal fill their stomachs, it will also fill their hearts.
Add Some Sweets Baked Together. Many school aged children love to help their parents in the kitchen and baking is very high up on the list of fun activities to share. An evening in the kitchen whipping up a batch of brownies or lemon squares not only makes memories but provides a sweet snack for your child to enjoy during the school week. Be sure to include an extra serving for your little one to share with a friend or two. They will be very happy and proud to share the fruits of their labor with others.