Thursday, September 10, 2009

What's for Lunch?

What is it about packing a lunch that is so great? Since my son started school last year, he is always excited to pack his lunch. We run through the school menu each week and determine what days he is going to pack. If we get to the end of the week and he likes everything, he will generally go back and change his mind about one day just so he can pack. He has a Derek Jeter soft side lunch box which he just loves.

The main course of his lunch is usually peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or occasionally a bologna sandwich when he asks for it before I go shopping for the week. We have a good variety of jellies on hand most of the time, so even when he packs peanut butter and jelly multiple times in a week the sandwiches aren't all the same flavor.

The fun comes in to his lunch with the side dishes. I like to try to pack a decent assortment for him, while still keeping it "fun". He is a big fan of fruit and of yogurt, so I try to include one or both in his lunchbox. There is always a snack or treat included as well. Sometimes it is a small piece of candy or maybe some chips. This week it has been oatmeal cookies that we made over the weekend (I need a good recipe or a tip on why mine turn out "lacy" - they taste great but they are full of gaping holes and are fragile).

The important thing is that I fill it with things that he really enjoys and that it is different every day, so that there is something to look forward to.

When my daughter sees my son's packed lunch on the counter, she wants to pack too and pulls out a Hello Kitty 'Bento Box' that we have. Generally, what she wants to pack is breakfast - today it was a pack of oatmeal on one side and the other side was Cheerios and mini-marshmallows. She carries the empty box around until I fill it for her.

For me, my lunches are simple. Tomato sandwiches in season - I pack a sliced tomato, toast and mayo and assemble at work. Tuna sandwiches - I pack a packet of tuna, bread and may and assemble at work. Leftovers - flavor du jour. I also like to include fresh fruit and yogurt. Occasionally, I will include a treat in my lunch too! I use Lunch Skins to pack my lunch in a brown paper bag that I use over and over.

My husband works from home so he is pretty free to eat whatever is in the kitchen with little forward thinking required.

For more lunch box ideas, check out this week's Ultimate Recipe Swap Lunchbox Love Edition at Life As MOM.