School has been underway for a week, and already I’ve heard one of the more dreaded sentences in the English language: “Mom, I didn’t like what you packed for lunch today.”
My children, R and G, are good eaters, but lunchtime can be challenge. They don’t have long to eat lunch during the school day (only about 20 minutes), and their friends distract them with chances to talk and be silly. Therefore, what I pack in their lunchboxes has to grab their attention—while also being healthy.
To the rescue came Stonyfield. As part of their YoGetters program, I was invited to participate in the Rock the Lunchbox campaign, an effort to make kids’ lunches fun, different, and, of course, healthy! The Rock the Lunchbox website is a helpful resource for stumped lunch-making parents, featuring photos, inspiration, and even coupons for organic, yummy food from Annie’s Homegrown, Applegate Organic & Natural Meats, Honest Kids, Organic Valley, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, and Stonyfield Yogurt. I was happy to participate, especially since many of these items are already in my kitchen pantry and refrigerator.
I was provided with a number of coupons and tools to create lunches for my kindergartener and first-grader (and you can get them, too—read on for the giveaway!), putting together different lunch options that I immediately packed for the kids to eat tomorrow. While doing so, I learned three helpful lunch packing tips:
- Ask the kids for suggestions. For this post, I had R and G draw what they thought should go into their lunchboxes. Their pictures follow, and both of them surprised me by what they included: an orange for R (I thought he had sworn off them!) and broccoli for G (otherwise known as “little trees” in our house).
- Give options. I learned this tip very early on in my lunch packing days. In the event an item in the lunch was an epic fail (for R, this would be peanut butter and jelly, and for G, this would be any meat product), having several different smaller choices ensures the child would still eat well. This makes the Bento box a great solution for lunches. I had never tried a Bento box before, electing to use a series of small plastic containers instead. Alas, those containers never seem to fit well in my kids’ lunch boxes. The Bento box, with its everything-fits-together design, was a hit in my house. When the kids spied me making the lunches for this post, putting the food in the small, colorful containers of the Bento box, the lobbying began: “Mom, can I have that tomorrow? And can you put my lunch in that every day?”.
- Make a meal plan for school lunches. My son ate the same lunch every day last year in kindergarten. This was partly due to his rejection of all of the (not very creative) options I presented to him, and my lack of planning at the grocery store. This year, I am changing that: I am planning out school lunches every day—using a simple chalk board hanging in our kitchen—so I can be sure my kids get variety in their meals.
What did I make for my kids?
For R, I used the turkey and cheese on crackers from Applegate’s new Halftime lunch kit as the main protein, adding in carrots, an apple, cucumber, a Stonyfield YoKids Squeezer, Annie’s chocolate Bunny Grahams, and an Organic Valley milk.
For G, I made a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich on Rudi’s bread, with an orange, a baby banana, broccoli, Stonyfield YoKids Squeeze!, Annie’s Bunny Fruit snacks (from the Halftime lunch kit), and water.
Fingers crossed they’ll eat everything up tomorrow!
Want to rock your lunchbox? Rock the Lunchbox has generously offered a Rock the Lunchbox kit to one lucky Red Shutters reader! The kit includes a Laptop Lunches Bento box, a U-Konserve Stainless Steel Container, and Blue Avocado Rezip Bags, as well as coupons from the following companies to help you lunchbox rock (and maybe even roll): Annie’s Homegrown, Applegate Organic & Natural Meats, Honest Kids, Organic Valley, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, and Stonyfield Yogurt. Please note that items in the kit may vary, and that the giveaway is open to US addresses only.
Enter this giveaway by Sunday, September 7 at midnight ET using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.