Back to School Week: Lunch – it’s in the box, or bag, as the case may be
Nothing stresses me out about the new school year more than lunch. Honestly.
I blame an elementary school experience with a Milk Bag. Seriously, who’s idea was that? What did they expect to happen?
I blame one of my classmates calling me green pepper girl. I let that nickname make me cry. If only I would have had the internet, I would have turned it into a kick-ass meme and cashed in on my instant fame.
Today, I find myself no longer the lunchee, but rather, the lunch lady. As the lunch lady, I find the whole lunch prep to be…well, honestly it can be a drag.
So the challenge for me is making it fun. Really the challenge should be to make it nutritional, and it is. But there are whole revolutions addressing that.
I have two years of lunch prep under my belt, so naturally I consider myself an (ahem) expert. So without further ado, here are my tips for making lunch prep enjoyable:
1. Get the kids a fun lunchbox, like this one from Oots! I’d go into how it’s eco-friendly by cutting down waste, easy to use and smart in design, but I’ll let the company do that. What I’m going to tell you is that aMuse is giving one away! (disclaimer: aMuse is one of my all-time favorite toy stores who happen to carry Ellie Bellie Kids, so you know they’re cool!) All you have to do is visit their blog and tell them one of your healthy lunch favorites. How easy is that? I’d say it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.
2. Get some fun accessories, like this supah cool menu (inspired by my daughter who suggested menus made lunch fancier) designed by Jennifer Vallez.
And these very cool napkins which not only will make your children appear sophisticated but teach them proper table manners (Hello?! Cloth napkins? How debonair are your kids? I’d say very!)
3. Get some fun cook books. There’s nothing worse than a lack of inspiration at an obscene hour (honestly, why must school start so early?). So I keep some references close at hand. How about this one from Funky Lunch
Or this one from Jennifer McCann (you don’t have to be vegan to find this one chock-full of inspiration)
After I flip through the books, I turn to my faithful companion, my computer, and ask it for inspiration. Here’s what it offers: our foodie gift guide (aww yeah!), the alphamom bento box tutorial, Healthy Happy Life, and of course Ann Cooper (I like to pretend we’re related).
3. Avoid milk bags. Or if you do give a seven year old a bag of milk, have a box of rags close by.
4. Skip the name calling. If your child does earn a lunchroom nickname, take a page out of today’s instant celebs playbook and merchandise, merchandise, merchandise. That college savings account doesn’t fund itself.
Okay I’ve shared my expert tips, now I’d like to hear some of yours. What have you got for me? What have I missed?