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Home / Au Pair / 10 Good Rules for Packing Grade School Lunches
Published on February 5, 2013, by in Au Pair.

The days of parents deciding what is best to send their children to school with for lunch is quickly fading.  Schools are becoming so obsessed with fighting childhood obesity that they are putting into effect some pretty strict rules about what children can and cannot bring for lunch.  Stories about schools confiscating children’s lunches are even making news headlines. As you prepare your child’s school lunch, consider these 10 tips:

  1. Make it fun: One of the most important things to remember about grade school lunches is that kids love to eat foods they consider fun.  One way to make their lunchtime meal more fun is to make your own Lunchables using a Bento box.  These are Asian inspired boxes that have sections you can fill with little bits of different foods.  Add whole wheat crackers, cheese, rolls of lean deli meat and water or 100% fruit juice. 
  2. Make it different: Don’t pack your children the same thing day after day.  If your child likes deli meat, try serving it on a salad one day and in a wrap the next. You can find salad bowls that have a separate section for the dressing so that everything stays fresh and crisp until lunchtime. When it’s time for lunch, your child can add the dressing and shake up the salad, which will distribute the dressing evenly and allow him to enjoy a healthy twist based on food he likes.   
  3. Put some love in it: Include a surprise in your child’s lunch.  Write a note on a paper napkin.  Put a sticky note on a juice box.  If the other kids tease him about his lovey dovey notes from mom, then include a “joke of the day” instead.  Print out a funny comic for him to read and share at lunch time. 
  4. Include fruit or veggies: If your child doesn’t like plain carrots or celery, include a to-go container of peanut butter or ranch dressing for dipping. Surprise him with different fruits like kiwi or star fruit.
  5. Include a water bottle: Send your child to school with a frozen bottle of water. This can double as an ice pack in his lunch that keeps his food cold, and it will have melted enough to drink by the time lunch rolls around.
  6. Ask your child what he likes: It’s super important to get your child’s input when it comes to preparing lunches.  Kids who are involved with their meal planning and preparation are more likely to eat their meals.
  7. Don’t send too much: Parents seem to err on the side of sending too much food instead of too little.  Kids have small stomachs and the younger they are, the smaller their stomach is. 
  8. Don’t send candy: Avoid sending candy to school.  Healthier alternatives include yogurt covered raisins and trail mix. Let your child pick his favorite cereal and add a handful of cereal, nuts, seeds, pretzels and chocolate chips to a Ziploc bag.
  9. Make sure to send protein: Protein helps kids stay full longer. This is so important in school where kids can’t graze all day and eat when they want. Include a protein rich food, like a ham sandwich, some almonds or a piece of string cheese with your child’s lunch.
  10. Beware of allergy restrictions: Many schools don’t allow specific items if there is a highly allergic child in the classroom. Popular foods that are regularly banned include peanuts, peanut butter and strawberries. If your child is a peanut butter lover you can try substituting sunflower butter in its place, which is similar in taste and consistency to peanut butter.


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