I used to love when my father packed my school lunch. He took lunch making very seriously! My step sister and I were just reminiscing about it a few weeks ago when she came to visit from LA. We both have such fond memories of reaching into our brown paper bags and finding a well planned, nourishing meal, paired with a sweet note or a funny drawing. It was his way of letting us know that he loved us – and we felt it! It brought a little warmth from home into the middle of our school day.
Now that Nori is in primary school, it’s my turn to pack lunches and I’ll tell you – I really, really love this new responsibility. It makes sense – I love food, I love my daughter and I love filling up small boxes – seriously. We bought Nori a Bentigo Kids bento box, which was SO CUTE, but sadly, because the lid doesn’t come off completely, her teachers told me that it takes up too much space on the lunch table. Reluctantly, I stopped packing that box and I scoured amazon for a new alternative and I found Easy Lunch Boxes! They’re a little less cool. They don’t seal shut or hold temperature and they have less tiny compartments to fill – which I’ll admit, takes a little of the joy out of it for me, but, they’re still great. They help with portioning, have fun colored lids and the best part is that they come as a set of 4, so I don’t have to wash her lunchbox every afternoon!
The guidelines for lunches at Noris school are that they must not include nuts or treats. We are also dairy free, so I can’t pack yogurts or cheeses. I don’t pack her too much variety, because what 4 year old loves variety? These little people watch the same movie thousands of times in a row! I stick to packing what I know she will eat and won’t toss in the compost. School lunch is not a time to debut new foods or to try and pack meals that usually go untouched at home.
Since Nori is super picky, I stick to some basic options:
Deli Meat – Salami, ham or turkey.
Spreads – Jelly or sunbutter. When making these sandwiches, I sprinkle hemp seed and chia in the middle of the sandwich to add some nutrients – Nori doesn’t even notice!
Fruits – Apples, pears, berries, peaches, to name a few – fruit is always a hit.
Veggies – Our top two are cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, but sugar snap peas, corn, carrot/celery sticks have also made appearances.
Leftovers – Her school will reheat one dish a week if you ask. also, some leftovers are good cold!
To drink, we keep rice milk at school and pack a cup for her to be served. Some days, she just drinks water!
Heres what Nori had for lunch this week.
Taking pictures of her lunches this week was so much fun for me! I just love looking at them! They’re so cute! Now, I know they’re nothing crazy, I am not some lunchtime culinary master, but I fill these boxes with the things that my daughter loves so that she knows that I love her – just like my daddy did for me. I can’t wait until Nori can read so I can include little notes for her too! The best feeling ever, is when school is out and she hands me her lunch box and says, “Mama! I ate all of my lunch today!”
That’s a mom win for me that never gets old.