Tasty tips for getting back into lunchtime routines

Packing lunches doesn’t have to be a pain!

September brings a return to routine that is welcomed by many, but one aspect of routines that people don’t love is packing lunches. The key to keeping the process more interesting and nutritious – whether you’re organizing lunches for school or work – is to think beyond the sandwich. Mixing things up will keep packed lunches fresh and interesting.

Lots of foods are really portable and nutritious – you just need the right containers to transport them. I really like Jarware’s line of food storage accessories for canning jars. Making sure kids get enough protein is important. Lots of kids like veggies and dip and this is an easy thing to pack. Yogurt is a great option, and it’s fun to add a little crunch to it with cereal or granola to mix in. Instead of buying premade packages, make your own using two containers that can be combined when it’s time to eat. Crackers and cheese are also popular but remember crackers can get soggy unless you pack them separately from the cheese.

We know eggs are a great source of protein but how to fit them into the lunchbox? If your kid doesn’t want to be the one diving into smelly hard boiled eggs, why not pack some scrambled eggs into a pre-heated thermal food storage container, or maybe make these mini egg frittatas which are extra filling because the also include pasta and cheese?

Speaking of putting a thermal jar to good use, you can pre-chill one then fill it half full with milk. Pack a container of your child’s favourite cereal and then can combine the two and enjoy it at school. Don’t forget the spoon!

Another healthy protein-packed option that the whole family will enjoy are these delicious Apple Pie Snack Bites which are quick to make and even quicker to eat. Make a big batch and freeze them!

Bite-sized pieces of fruit are another great option because kids can eat it quickly. Most schools have litterless lunch policies so plastic wrap is definitely not in good taste (pun intended) so I’m loving these new, handmade in Canada etee waxed organic canvas food wraps which are great for fruit, grapes, leftover pizza or cookies, to name just a few. They’re washable and reusable too!

Big and little kids (meaning grownups too) want something that’s nutritious and filling – this Waldorf Pasta Salad is ideal! Perfectly packable and full of crunch and flavour, it’s a family favourite.

Crisp and colourful Waldorf Pasta Salad

Make saving a few quarters, loonies or toonies a part of your lunch packing routine and you’ll easily save enough to treat yourself to lunch out a few times each month. In keeping with the kitchen theme, I like this cute Jarware piggy bank accessory!

Above all else, get your kids involved in packing at least a portion of their lunches. So many studies have shown that they are far more likely to consume and enjoy their meals at school if they’ve had a hand in selecting the components. I like to have a basket filled with lunch packing supplies tucked into a cupboard where the kids can reach it – don’t forget the cutlery and napkins!

Disclaimer: Lunchbox image from https://www.amazon.ca/EasyLunchboxes-3-Compartment-Bento-Containers-Classic/dp/B004S129AQ. I received products for testing purpose from Jarware and etee, but all opinions, as always, are my own.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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