This is my daughter’s first week in her new Pre K class after 2 months at home with me. Leading up to this week, she’s been playing it kind of cool. We’ve visited the school and her new teacher, but she hasn’t said much about it. This past weekend she stayed so busy having fun with her sweet cousin, Zane, that we hardly took notice of what was coming up.
Monday morning, however, was quite a change in the story. Ella was the first to rise in our house and asked for a breakfast of pancakes and bananas to “give me energy to play”. Afterwards, she began her four-year-old process of getting ready for her ‘first day of school’. This included nothing less than deodorant, body spray and body lotion (compliments of Mommy). After brushing her teeth, of course she needed to use some Listerine and floss before applying her barbie makeup and asking for a special hairdo (which she set quite well with plenty of hairspray). Guess she’s been watching this Healthy Mamma’s routines at getting ready these past couple of months. Here she is ready to head in the door!
Back to school time means back to packing lunches each day (well four days a week in my case since her school provides Friday pizza). I love that I am able to pack her lunch because that means I have control over what she is offered food-wise during the day (rather than processed school lunches).
Working in education, however, I have witnessed that even the best intentioned mothers end up packing home lunches that are seriously lacking in nutrition because it is so much easier to grab prepackaged food. Some of my favorite lunchbox tools to improve the content of our home lunches were found at Target. They have reusable plastic containers for sandwiches and sides that include an ice pack which locks in the lid. I’ve also found some super cute animal and bug shaped ice packs that I throw in also to keep things nice and cool.
For her lunch each day, I like to pack a sandwich, fresh cut fruit, a veggie and something ‘snacky’.
For the sandwiches, my favorite bread to use is Rudi’s Organic (you can not beat the taste or the ingredients). I also sometimes like to use wholegrain sandwich rounds or wholegrain pita bread. Instead of the classic PB &J, my daughter loves our alternative Almond Butter, Agave Nectar and Banana slices sandwich. Yummy! Another winner in place of the typical packaged meat sandy, is Boar’s Head turkey, spinach/lettuce, cheese and avocado spread instead of mayo (sometimes I add a little mustard to this one). After nights that we’ve had chicken and have a little left over, I pull out my food processor and throw in the chicken, an apple and some celery. Pulse to the consistency you like and mix with a little mayo, salt and pepper for a yummy chicken salad to spread onto some bread.
Veggies are the the toughest for me to keep interesting, since they aren’t typically winners with kids, but some of the veggies I pack are carrot sticks, ‘ants on a log’- celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, edamame- they have awesome kid packs in the frozen section, and broccoli or cucumbers with ranch dip.
Fruit is simple…whatever we have in the house, I cut and store in the cool container. A favorite of ours, however is our ‘wormy apple’. I use the sharp end of a meat thermometor to make a hole in an apple and I stick a gummy worm inside. So fun! The trick is to freeze the worm first so it’s a little easier to get in.
I always try to pack something ‘snacky’ because I figure that she might need a snack later in the day and kids just love opening packages. Some ideas I use are a box of rasins, a cheese stick, homemade trail mix of raw almonds, walnuts and dried cranberries, or yogurt (our favorite right now is Chobani Greek Yogurt).
Of course, lunch isn’t complete without a napkin love note from her Healthy Mamma and Daddy!
Have a healthy school year!