Packing School Lunches Your Kids Will Love!
If you’re like me, you have kids who have brought home their lunches either full or half eaten. It’s the age-long dilemma of packing a lunch that is not only nutritious but also one that they’ll actually eat.
I know when my girls were younger I often worried if they were eating enough or if they would like what Darasak and I had packed. Often times, it would feel like I sent off food for a day trip because it came back uneaten at the end of the day. Other times, it came back completely eaten.
Every. Single. Morsel.
With years of making school lunches under my belt, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks on what works and what doesn’t. Read on to discover 7 tips for packing school lunches your kids will love!
1. Get Them Awesome Gear and Fun Snacks
Kids get excited about new lunch boxes, water bottles and yummy snacks. I know that my kids look forward to back to school shopping every year just for this reason. Walmart has an impressive assortment of lunch bags and containers that are colourful, trendy and functional. Believe me, there is something for every child. Whether it’s the fashionista or the emoji lover–there’s plenty to choose from.
The girls picked out new and fun lunch boxes and loved what they chose. Gabby picked up a lunch tote and Mimi grabbed a lunch bag that came with everything she needed. It came with containers and a water bottle for a low price. We also picked out some fun bentos that are expandable and carry a lot of food. Bonus to the bentos, the middle tray is an ice pack!
I always make it a point to buy new containers every year because I like being able to use them over and over again, eliminating the need to use plastic bags. They are also great for sending leftovers. Gabby loved her new water bottle, the colour is awesome and has a fun saying that is in all the kids’ vocabulary these days!
Slay All Day.
As much as I’d like to think that’s what I do every day, I know that I am rocking it in the lunch-packing game right now. Walmart is one of my favourite places to shop for kids’ snacks, fresh fruits and groceries. The kids love the Great Value snacks and I love that I can pick up my fruits and veggies here too. They also have individual size guacamole, which is super convenient. Plus, I even pick up my meat and other items like pasta, bread, cheese and yogurt. The quality never disappoints and the price is always on point. It’s affordable and since you can virtually pick everything up in one trip, it’s a one-stop shop for back-to-school and beyond.
2. Let Them Plan Their School Menu
While parents should ultimately have the last say, I like to let the girls write down snack or meal ideas they want during the week. Letting your kids be active in the planning may result in them eating their lunch since they know exactly what they’re having. When they are younger, you can give them options with a little game of this or that. Try to rotate the ideas as much as you can and aim for about 4 different items so they have variety!
3. Get in the Kitchen
What better way to empower your kids than to let them help make the meals that they planned? Older kids can take care of making their own sandwiches and packing their snacks. Younger kids can help you wash fruits and veggies. Another way I get the girls in the kitchen is to have them make muffins together. Gabby often makes cold pasta dishes and other quick and easy meals. Having them help in the kitchen gives them a sense of pride and I’m happy they are working on life skills they will use forever. Plus, they know exactly what is going into their food since they made it! No icky surprises!
4. Grab Those Shapes
Since school is right around the corner, we are preparing for the school year and going over lunch ideas. We decided to make a list and ended up with handmade PB & J stuffed sandwiches (made with soy), carrots, cheese, crackers, apples, juice and a treat. Don’t forget to pack water too! But, I found that if I shaped their food into different shapes, they were all of a sudden more fun to eat! Who would have thunk? The easiest thing to do is grab cookie cutters and use them to shape their sandwiches, fruits, and even cheese! Believe me, it works.
5. Change it Up
One of the biggest concerns that my eldest voiced over the years is that lunches can get boring. After all, sandwiches can be a bit of a snooze if you have them every day. We try to change it up at least 1 or 2 days during the week. We will make cold pasta dishes, chips and dip, pizza and even rice and chicken. The possibilities are endless and luckily, you can pick everything up at Walmart. Often times, you can make their favourite dish for supper and pack a little for the next day.
6. Send a Treat
I make it a point to pack a little treat once in a while. Whether it’s a small handful of jelly beans, a chocolate coin or a square of dark chocolate. A little something to brighten their day. This isn’t necessary of course but, I know that they are getting a balanced meal; having a little treat is a bonus.
7. Dip It
I send dips with their lunches as often as I can. Especially hummus, white bean hummus or guacamole. It’s a great way to get extra protein and healthy fats into them and let’s face it, kids love to dip. You can pair them with carrots, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, grape or cherry tomatoes, pretzels, pita chips, tortillas, and more.
You can also pack yogurt, add a bit of granola and they can dip it with fruits. It’s always a hit and it’s a great dose of protein.
Knock It Out of the Park This Year!
Now that you have some tips for packing school lunches your kids will love, you’re ready to go! Make sure you visit your nearest Walmart to pick up all the back to school essentials. You’re armed with the tips, now you need the gear and snacks. There’s a wide variety of lunch bags, water bottles, containers and more.
Soon enough, you’ll be hitting home runs.
For more information and to see the variety, visit Walmart.ca to check out everything back to school.
What do you pack for school lunches?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Back to School Lunch and Snack Solutions program. In exchange for this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.