How do you pack the perfect lunch?

Oh, have I lamented the school lunches here on Red Shutters! I’ve told you 20 ways I procrastinate making them, and how I (kind of) dreaded returning to lunch making once school started back up.  It’s not exactly my favorite parenting duty.

Here we are, three months into the school year, and I’ve made about 70 lunches (I have two kids, remember). So, the folks at Stonyfield asked how I was doing on the school lunch front. Specifically, they asked: “How do you pack the perfect school lunch?”

how do you pack the perfect school lunch

My son’s lunch include a roast beef sandwich, raspberries, low-fat milk, Stonyfield YoKids, and Stonyfield Fruit Snacks. A banana and water were already packed up in his backpack when he smiled for this photo.

Perfect sounded like a tall order. I really have two goals when making my kids’ lunches:

  1. The food is healthy.

I include foods you’d expect: fruit, vegetables, water, organic bread, low (or no) sugar treats, and protein. I try to change up the choices to engage the kids, and I ask for their input, which they appreciate.

  1. My kids eat the lunch (or most of it).

My kids have eaten a surprising amount of the items I have sent to school with them this year. In the past, they rejected many parts of their lunches, so their enthusiasm for what I’ve been sending lately has been perplexing, but I suspect it has a bit to do with the fact they are getting older and more open-minded to different foods.

What could make all of this better? How about a third goal?

  1. Someone else makes the lunches.

I keep hoping my husband will volunteer to take them on, but then we’d have to swap responsibilities, and I imagine snow shoveling would come my way. With winter only weeks away, I’ll stay with the “apple or banana” dilemma.

But what about my kids? What if they made their own lunches? It’s not such a crazy idea; they are six and eight years old, after all.

I pitched the idea one day to my son. “How about you make your lunch, honey?” I gestured to his red lunch box sitting on the counter.

He looked up from his book. “What?” He shook his head no and ran out of the room.

I realized I was making this sound optional.

A few days later, on a Sunday afternoon, I brought both of my kids into the kitchen and called upon them to make lunches with me. They made their sandwiches; I supervised. They proposed fruit choices and their favorite Stonyfield YoKids flavors; I said yes. They tried to sneak in chips, granola bars, and a cookie; I steered them away from carbohydrates and sweets. We ended up with a lunch we all liked, and they cleaned up the kitchen, too!

how do you pack the perfect school lunch

My daughter took to lunch-making with a big smile, making herself a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

My daughter asked if she could make her lunch everyday, and while we haven’t quite gotten there yet, I declared our collaborative effort a success. It was, in fact, perfect.

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.