It’s back-to-school time and many parents will be filling those lunch boxes with PB&J sandwiches and juice boxes, but what can you do to make sure school lunch goes smoothly for everyone?
ABC15 spoke with Arizona lifestyle blogger Camille Whiting to get her tips on a successful mealtime.
Whiting’s top tip? Getting a lunchbox with compartments.
“There's a lot of different options, but they seal everything closed, and then you can kind of pack anything you want in them.”
She suggests getting your kids involved in the packing process and she says she has one formula when it comes to deciding what goes in that lunch box: “pack a protein, a carbohydrate, and something with produce. And then from there, you can be a little creative.”
One of her kids’ favorites is breakfast for lunch — she packs pancakes with some syrup and fruit. Another idea is hummus with pita bread and cut-up veggies, or use those pitas and add some sauce and cheese to make a small pizza.
As you send your kids back to school there might be some anxiety about school lunch, especially when it comes to finishing their food. Most kids only have 20 to 25 minutes to eat, so what can you do to help your child prepare?
Whiting suggests using a timer to practice at home.
“Just help them feel comfortable eating, help them practice sitting down and opening their lunchbox. Also, it is a huge hassle for teachers to have to open every single item in your kid's lunchbox, so make sure you spend the time practicing what it's like to put a straw in a drink, What it's like to unwrap crackers, chips, open Ziploc bags, I mean, anything you're going to send with your kid, you want to make sure they can at least mostly do it.”
She says most kids probably will come home with food in their lunch boxes and that’s totally normal! Lunch at school is not only about eating but also about learning social skills, so some kids will only get a few bites of food during lunchtime and parents should understand that it’s OK.
Whiting suggests using that leftover food for an after-school snack.
"It's really easy to say, hey, just open your lunchbox and finish up your lunch. And I know my son still got a complete meal over a few hours of the day at least.”
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous with that after-school snack, Whiting says she keeps a lot of cut fruits and vegetables in her fridge.
“I do keep a lot of crackers on hand. You have to realize your kids are running around on the playground burning a ton of calories.”
She says a snack after school can help your kids feel full just in case school lunch doesn’t go as planned. To see more of Whiting’s tips, you can check out her blog, Friday We’re in Love.