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School Lunch Ideas

Apartment Living
When it’s time for the kids to go back to school, parents are often happy to have life return to a set routine after a busy summer. But, back to school means homework, school sports and activities, and packing lunches.  
And packing lunches is often a dreaded task for parents. It can seem like you’re packing the same things over and over again. Or you watch them pack the same things over and over again. So, what can you do to break up the monotony of the same sandwich, fruit, and chips every day? Here are some ideas to help!
  • Take Your Children Grocery Shopping: While it may not be convenient to take your child grocery shopping every week, occasionally take them with you to the supermarket. This gives them the chance to pick out some things that they might like in their lunch. You might be surprised by what they pick out given a chance.
  • Know What Your School Has Available: It’s always good to know what the school has available for your child. Do they have a microwave where things can be warmed up? Is there a salad bar that can supplement what you might pack in their lunch? Can they easily purchase milk for cereal they might bring from home? Ask your child to share what their cafeteria has for purchase - even if your child does not want to buy the school’s lunch.
  • Let Them Help Pack Their Lunch: Older children are capable of packing their own lunch, but younger children may need assistance. Be sure to let younger children help with the packing of lunches so that they can know what’s available and what they’ll be eating. 
  • Share This Pick and Choose List: If after a while, you find that the lunch your child packed is coming home and not being eaten, it may be time to find out why. Often, children are bored with the same old lunch day after day and really just need to switch things up. If they’re not sure what they’d like, perhaps some ideas on this list will be helpful:
  • Main Course:
    • Almond Butter and Jelly (or Peanut Butter)
    • Cheddar Cheese, Salami, and Crackers
    • Ham and Cheese Rollups
    • Cheese Quesadilla
    • Soup
    • Macaroni and Cheese (will stay warm in a thermos)
    • Hard-Boiled Eggs
    • Turkey and Cheese Skewers
    • Bagel and Cream Cheese
    • Hummus Wrap
    • Pasta Salad
  • Fruits and Vegetables:
    • Apples
    • Pears
    • Bananas
    • Oranges
    • Cherries
    • Grapes
    • Peaches
    • Blueberries
    • Strawberries
    • Applesauce
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Cucumbers
    • Peppers
    • Snap Peas
    • Edamame
  • Sides and Snacks:
    • Granola Bars
    • Pretzels
    • String Cheese
    • Pudding Cups
    • Yogurt
    • Trail Mix
    • Fruit Leather
    • Popcorn
    • Chips
    • Chips and Salsa (Guacamole)
    • Crackers
    • Cookies
School lunches don’t have to be ho-hum or involve packing the same thing day after day when you get your kids involved in making the choices and packing their own lunch. Use these tips to make packing school lunches this year a little bit easier.

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