Monday, February 3, 2014

Back To School: Lunchbox Meal Planning

Back to School is just around the corner for those of us in Oz, and that means thinking about school lunches once again. Both for health and financial reasons, it makes so much more sense to send lunch to school with your child rather than needing to buying it from the canteen. There are a lot of paid lunchbox planners out there, but these FREE resources are fantastic, so make sure you check them out.

Fresh For Kids

http://www.freshforkids.com.au/lunch_box/lunch_box.html

Fresh for Kids (an initiative from the Sydney Markets) have three free fantastic downloadable booklets each with a week's worth of simple recess and lunch ideas (including recipes) and a number of fruit and veg based snacks that would be perfect for after school. All of the ideas are quick and easy, and the meals seem to be well balanced and very child friendly.

Planning With Kids

http://planningwithkids.com/search_results/?cx=partner-pub-9880248183261131%3Alvsm4j7r4vy&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=lunch+box+ideas&sa=Search

Nicole's blog is a goldmine of all sorts of amazing parenting info, but her lunch box planning method is especially genius (this link takes you to a list of all of her seasonal lunch plans and linked recipes). I used her method a lot last year and it really did make lunches must easier. Her recipes, in particular, are well laid out, easy to make, and so far, every single one has been a success!

Laptop Lunches


http://www.laptoplunches.com/bento-menus/

If you are a more visual person, then Laptop Lunchboxes website has a fantastic library of menus, divided by season, with so many different ones your child will never be bored! Obviously, they are promoting their lunchboxes, so all the lunches are packed in them, but the menus are easily adapted to whatever lunchbox you are using. The lunches range from very child-friendly to truly adventurous (not sure even my adventurous eater would go for chilled cucumber soup!!), and again, all seem very well balanced.

Happy Home Fairy


http://happyhomefairy.com/2013/09/09/10-easy-lunch-box-ideas/

I regularly use the Easy Lunchbox for the kids' lunches, and Happy Home Fairy has done the hard work for me, and found 10 easy lunchbox ideas from around the web that I am absolutely stealing this year!! If your kids love lunchbox notes (my son absolutely loves them!), she also has a great round up of free lunchbox note printables, which you can find here.

Martha Stewart


http://www.marthastewart.com/268539/magnetic-lunch-chart

Finally, if you are a bit more free flowing, and want to come up with your own plans, but need more help with the planning itself, then Martha comes to the rescue (are you surprised?!). Her DIY magnetic lunch planner is a fantastic idea, and really helps kids to take a role in the lunch planning. The printables are editable, so you can adapt the idea to suit your own family perfectly.

Hopefully, these ideas help you and your family ease into the new school year in a healthy, happy and organised way!

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2 comments:

Tete A Tete said...

Hello Sarah! Thanks for these great ideas!! And it's about the perfect time! My 4+ yr old will be going to kindergarten for the first time this May. I am a little freaking out about her lunch. The school provides food but I am not sure about the quality... at home we eat mostly organic stuff... What do you think? Will she be looked at as "different" if she brings her lunch to school or should she eat the same food as her classmates?

That said, I am going to check out those sites now! :D

Thanks again for sharing!

Sarah Vitsas said...

Hmm, she would definitely be seen as "different" but that might not be a bad thing! Why don't you try sending her with lunch from home and see how it goes. You can always revert to school lunches if it is causing a big problem for her. My daughter (5) loves showing her teachers her lunchbox, and it is often "different" to what all the other kids are eating.

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