Preparing and packing hundreds of school lunches each year is pretty much the bane of every parent’s existence. But there’s an extra level of annoyance when you completely suck at making ‘creative and pretty’ meals.
If you’re like me, and have very little enthusiasm for constructing a Gruffalo out of sushi rice because it ends up looking more like a melting snowman in March, you’re likely a Pinterest-fail Mom. And that’s perfectly okay. Here are a few ways you can manage the year of school lunches when you suck at Pinterest.
1. Hop on the bento box bandwagon.
This sounds counter-intuitive, but bento boxes actually make lunches easier. One container with multiple sections means all you have to do is sprinkle some kibble into each space and you’re good to go. If you’re a touch concerned about your kids getting scurvy, chop up a few veggies and fruits ahead of time, toss them in with Annie’s Homegrown cheddar bunnies, cheese, whole grain cereal, or whatever else you’ve got, and you’re done.
2. Remember: This is no time to be fancy.
Save the ladybugs constructed out of cheese and raisins for when you want to really impress someone – like at a playdate you’re hosting at your home. Trust me, your kids’ fellow classmates are not going to think your kid is any cooler because they have a Moana-shaped sandwich.
3. Invest in cucumbers.
It could just be my kids and their circle of friends, but cucumbers seem to be a widely-accepted veggie to children. So why not go with it? You can give them edamame and broccoli for dinner when you have some small control over how much they eat. When you’re not there and still want to give them some veggies they’ll definitely devour? Cucs are the way to go.
4. Just give them mac & cheese.
Kids love it, so why fight it? There’s nothing like a good meal of mac & cheese to please everyone. When you give them Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese – you’re all going to win. Your kids get the most requested kid meal ever for lunch and you’ll feel better knowing the ingredients are 80% organic with no artificial flavours, synthetic colours or preservatives. The chances of them bringing it home uneaten are very rare – and it’s so simple to throw together. You can also easily mix in veggies and you’re done. Drop the mic.
5. Variety? We don’t need no stinkin’ variety.
If your kids like the same thing over and over, there’s no harm in sticking with the tried and true. As long as they’re getting a little balance, it doesn’t really matter if they eat applesauce every day for eight months straight, does it?
6. Make stuff that freezes.
Make things like muffins ahead of time on the weekend, stockpile your freezer and just grab and go in the morning. Easy as pie.
7. Take the easy way out.
If you still feel the need to do something creative, make it simple. Place a few raisins or chocolate chips on top of yogurt into the shape of a smiley face, call it a portrait of your kid and voila. You nailed it.
8. Forget the sweet little notes on colourful stationery.
It’s a nice thought to write your child loving notes every single day – but talk about pressure. When did feeding your child not become enough? Keep lunch making to making food. Save the lovey stuff for when you all get home at the end of the day and can have a good cuddle.