Let me preface this post by saying the school year is stressful enough on parents and kids, and food shouldn’t have to be part of that equation. But more often than not it is. So I’m keeping it real and letting you know there’s a simple way to tackle school lunch stressors: give your kids the same school lunch everyday! GASP, I know, I said it. But really, what’s wrong with the same school lunch everyday if it’s healthy, wholesome, and something they will actually eat?
A few weeks ago on Facebook I shared a secret: I grew up eating the same school lunch everyday. Well, almost everyday. Salami, provolone cheese, mustard and two slices of white bread. Along with an apple, carton of milk, and a chocolate chip granola bar I was fueled for the day. When I didn’t have the standard Katie Caputo [Caputo is my maiden name] lunch it was either hot lunch at school or we had enough leftovers from the night before to pack for my lunch [Dad got first dibs]. The nice thing about having the same lunch everyday was I had some consistency to my day, something to look forward to besides gym class or the end of the school day.
I think my Mom was on to something with the consistency of the Katie Caputo lunch. She saved herself time each week— the grocery list for lunch didn’t have to change much! She was then able to spend extra time planning and cooking different dinners. Or better yet, spending extra time on herself— like all parents should do!Stop stressing about school lunch with this one simple tip! #schoollunch #kidfood Click To Tweet
Since Joey turns his nose up at a salami sandwich, we’ve done some playing around with his lunch box. So what does a typical lunch for Joey look like? Here’s our rotation:
- Hummus and crackers + watermelon + carrots + milk
- Peanut butter sandwich + strawberries + sweet potato wedges+ milk
- Grilled cheese + green beans + raspberries + yogurt + milk
- Turkey sandwich + avocado + apple slices + milk
- Leftovers from the night before + cottage + orange slices + milk
I know I went against my original premise of giving kids the same lunch everyday, but what you’ll notice here is that these ideas are simple AND easy. They might be considered boring to some of you. Yep, I pack [or serve] a boring lunch. But Joey needs the basics and I only have time or energy for the basics. And to spice things up, I DO mix n’ match ideas from every bullet point. Plus there’s no guarantee that Joey will eat any of it [besides the milk; he always drinks his milk]. You’ll also notice my rotation more often than not includes a sandwich, fruit, and milk. We are trying to get him to eat more veggies; some days that happens and other days it doesn’t.
The moral of the story is this: it’s OK to give your kids the same [or similar] lunch everyday. We as parents need to close Pinterest and enjoy some extra time on ourselves or with our children. They’ll survive if they get the same thing two days in a row, or heaven forbid, every week! As long as you are giving them nutritious options, including all food groups, I give you the permission to keep it simple and the same. From one mom to another, I’m doing it too!
For other simple, no fuss lunch ideas, visit these posts from my friends:
31 Healthy School Lunches for Toddlers by Holley Grainger, MS, RD
School Lunches by Jenna Braddock, RDN
Peanut Butter Sandwich Variations by Mom to Mom Nutrition
Great post Katie. My Mom always packed my lunch too ; favorite was tuna sandwich with potato chips! I could have eaten that everyday! I like the rotation you came up with for Joey. Good luck on the new school year!!!
Holley Grainger says
Thanks for sharing my post, Katie! Love these ideas!!
Elizabeth Shaw says
Such a great post with awesome tips and tricks! I love your containers too- I will have to pin this and remember when I have kids 🙂
Sonali- The Foodie Physician says
Sienna is starting school next week (I still can’t believe it) and I’ve already been stressing about packing her lunches. Thanks for keeping it real! This post really helped to put things in perspective and lifted a burden off my shoulders 🙂