With my kiddos going back to school this week I know that everyone is dreading packing lunch for those kiddos. Every. Single. Day.
Even though I am a trained chef, I have to be honest, packing lunches is my least favorite part of the day, and I’ve even considered getting hot lunch for my kids multiple times (gasp)! Yes… even I struggle with packing lunches!
But I’ve nailed the process, figured out what my kids like, and we have a general rotation that keeps things simple for both myself, and the kids. It’s all about communicating with them, asking what they want, letting them help make the lunch if possible (involving them in the process), and coming to some mutual agreement. I’m always surprised that they don’t mind repetition. In fact they request the same few things over and over again. Makes my life easier! Phew!
Because of Prep + Rally I know they will eat a completely healthy meal every single night. I also prepare a homemade breakfast for them every morning which is why I don’t feel as bad giving them slightly less healthy options (I’m mainly referring to the snacks) for lunch. It’s all about moderation!
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR LUNCH ROTATION STAPLES + OTHER GREAT IDEAS FOR EASY AND FOOL PROOF LUNCHES:
SOME LUNCH PREPPING TIPS:
– Use fun shaped cookie cutters to keep things playful. Cut fruit into fun shapes, sandwiches, cheeses or meat.
– Let them assemble their own sandwiches by assembling vegetables, meats or cheese, crackers
– Put foods on skewers to make it fun
– Put dressings, ketchup, hummus, guacamole, etc in small containers for a playful dip-able lunch
– Don’t be afraid of canned goods. Hearts of palm, chickpeas, and olives make great additions to any lunch and my kids LOVE them.
– Frozen foods are always great for keeping on hand for quick lunches. We love frozen peas and edamame!
KIDS LOVE A GREAT LUNCH BOX:
Bento boxes are IN for good reason. Kids love having separate sections for different foods, plus they display beautifully. I love my Planet Box lunch boxes but any brand works! Just get something fun that’s durable, dishwasher safe, and something your kid loves. (Here’s another one of my favorite bento boxes!)
Stasher bags are also perfect for packing snacks and SO much less wasteful than single use ziplock bags. Once you start putting them in the dishwasher they’re truly a breeze to use!
Check out a bunch of my other favorite back to school and kid friendly products HERE!
HERE ARE TWO OF MY KIDS FAVORITE MEAL PREP DISHES THAT DOUBLE AS GREAT LUNCHES:
Salmon fish sticks:
– 2 pounds salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into strips for fish sticks about 1/2 inch thick
– salt and pepper to season
– 2 cups almond meal
2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil. Mix the almond meal and Parmesan together on a large plate. Whisk the eggs together on another large plate. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then dip each into the egg and coat them in the almond-Parmesan mixture. Place on baking sheet and spray tops with cooking oil to coat. Cover and store.
Almond Flax Nuggets
– 1 cup almond meal
– ½ cup ground flax meal
– 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
– ¼ tsp pepper
– ½ tsp salt
– ½ tsp garlic powder
– 6 chicken breasts, pounded thin and cut into long strips
– 1 egg, beaten
– Oil or baking spray for drizzling
– Smoky Ketchup:
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– ½ cup ketchup
– ¼ tsp Sriracha (adjust according to preference)
Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, flax meal, rosemary, pepper, salt, and garlic powder.
Dip each piece of chicken into the egg first and then the almond-flax mixture. Place on baking sheet. Continue with remaining chicken, leaving a little space between the pieces on the baking sheet.
Drizzle liberally with oil and bake for 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Mix all ingredients together for the smoky ketchup and serve with chicken.