Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Lunchbox Edition

Good Morning!

Only 8 more days until Christmas vacation and a break from packing lunches.  Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.  A friend asked me this week about my system for packing cold lunch.  The link back to the original post isn't working anymore, so here's a quick re-cap of how our system works -

In my pantry, I have a clear plastic "sweater box" tote.  In it, I put individually packaged food items that do not need to be refrigerated, such as crackers, granola bars, dried fruits, etc.  Some things come pre-packaged and others I put into mini round containers.  You could also use snack size plastic bags, I just got tired of spending the money to have them thrown away each day.

In my 'frig, I designated one of the drawers as our "school lunch" drawer.  In it, I put individual servings of items that need to stay cold such as fresh fruit, yogurt, applesauce, vegetables, cheese, etc.  Again, some things come individually packaged and some I have to put into containers myself.

I try to do all the re-packaging on the day I buy the groceries and generally only do it once a week.  I spend 15-30 minutes preparing and putting everything away.  Each evening after supper, the kids are responsible for packing their own lunch.  We are now moving toward packing lunches according to the guidelines below, to make sure that we have balanced choices. The guidelines also include provision for one mid-morning snack.

Protein Choices (1-2 items):
String Cheese
Peanut Butter (in sandwiches)
Raw Almonds (not roasted or salted)
Hard-boiled Eggs

Fruit & Vegetable Choices (2-3 items):
Baby Carrots
Dried Apricots
Green Peppers

Grain Choices (1-2 items):
Bread (in sandwiches)
Granola Bars
Mini Rice Cakes (caramel flavor)
Cheese Nips Crackers
Banana Bread
Homemade Cookies

As a side note for those of you without school age kids, I often make my own lunch from the "ingredients" I list out in this post.  Especially on days when we don't have leftovers to choose from or if I am running late in the morning.  A typical lunch for me is baby carrots, hummus, avocado & almonds.

What's in your lunch box this week?

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