3 Rules for Packing Lunches: Roasted Kabocha, Chicken and French Toast Bites
Packing lunches is a pain point for many, many parents. Just when you think that one more task in the endless sequence of daily duties will break you, you remember that you have to pack someone’s lunch. Since Emmett and Isla are in Montessori school, they have lunch and snacks provided for them every day. I pack lunches for Eve. As much as I would like to say that unlike those “other” parents who hate packing lunches, I love it. But the truth is, I’m not a fan either. I do want her to look forward to her lunch. But that just makes me feel pressure to make it look and taste good. So, it’s a constant struggle for me to figure out how I can give her something good, but also simple for me to prepare.
Start with something they love
Start with something they love and ideally, won’t mind eating a couple of times in one week. Eve loves roasted kabocha squash and never seems to get tired of it. I like it too. So, it makes sense to roast a whole one on a Saturday or Sunday and use it throughout the week. I don’t feel guilty giving it to her in at least two out of five of her packed lunches.
Protein: use what you have
Eve usually gets a protein that we are having for other meals throughout the week. That way, I’m not reinventing the wheel when it comes time to pack lunches. If I buy chicken breast to stir fry or cook ahead and toss into pasta for a quick dinner, I make a little extra for lunches. Easy.
Pack carbs with extra nutrition
Have you noticed that kids love simple carbs? Sometimes I think my kids could live on plain pasta, pretzels and animal crackers. Oh yeah, and rice krispies. Of course one of the benefits of packing their lunches is that they have to eat what you put in it. Which they will, if they get hungry enough. Thus, for Eve, I try to add nutrition to the carb component of her lunch. In this case, I added bread soaked with eggs and a little cinnamon, cooked on a griddle. Sometimes I do the same thing with rice, or pasta. This way, she gets some extra protein with those carbs.