Just yesterday, I was asked to guest on Christine Jacob Sandejas’ morning show on CNN, called A New Day. Christine messaged me last week asking if it was possible to share a few baon ideas and different recipes that were healthy and appealing for both kiddos and kiddos at heart.
Now that we are #BackToSchool, I have already become more inspired in preparing our dinner.
BUT WHY DINNER when this post is about lunchboxes?
Well, when I prepare dinner for my family, I like to make enough so that we have a little leftover for the next day’s lunch boxes.
I really dislike wasting food, and in order to keep it interesting for the kiddos, I also try to mix up new dishes and recycle leftovers so that they feel that they are eating something new. Sometimes, it’s even easier to mix in the convenience of store bought goods, with home made treats as well.
I was so excited to guest on the show with my friend, that I made all of the main dishes the day before, and warmed it all up to be packed at 4am before my call time of 6am of the same day.
Besides trying to inspire some of the mommas that might be watching the tv at that particular time, one of the things I also wanted to share, is just how important it is to get the kids involved in packing their own lunches.
Here are some things that can make packing lunches a little easier:
Get the kids involved.
Just like in this video, I have empowered each of my children to be able to prepare something (anything that they like) in case they are hungry. Gia was making peanut butter sammies when she was 5 years old. Diego started to learn how to make tamago when he fell in love with Japanese food. Miguel makes his own pasta from scratch.
Getting the kids in the kitchen means:
- They will not always ask you to prepare something for them because they are empowered to prepare their own snacks.
- They will learn where food comes from and will not be squeamish in preparing their own meals, thereby fostering independence even more.
BUT, I certainly don’t expect my kiddos to pack their lunches every day.
I enjoy packing their lunches and making use of all the leftovers in creative ways. In fact, I often challenge myself to see what I can create in the kitchen that the kids will enjoy.
Choose the right container.
- There is a different container for each type of lunch.
- Bumbee for Rice Toppings.
- Yumbox for all different flavors that you don’t want to mix.
- Easy Lunchboxes for cold sandwiches or salad.
Use what you have in the fridge.
Implementing a zero waste policy in terms of food means that my kids expect our leftovers to be recycled into something else. This means that I have to get a little creative somethings but there are time tested staple recycling techniques that work wonders!
- Adobo becomes adobo flakes
- Roasted Chicken becomes chicken soup or chicken salad
- Baked Potatoes becomes home fries
- Steak becomes fajitas
- Baked Salmon becomes creamy salmon pasta
- Left over veggies becomes a quiche or fried rice
- Fruit that is sliced and not eaten can be frozen for shakes
Implement the FIVE color rule in your house.
The five color rule means that the kids have to have at least five colors of fruits or veggies. These can be a combination of what ever the kids enjoy the most. I don’t fight them on eating everything on the table. BUT I do offer options, and they must pick from what’s available. So, If I make 3 vegetables for dinner, at least one of those plus a fruit will end up in the lunch box the next day.
- Red = Apples or Peppers
- Green = Asparagus or Granny Smiths
- Yellow = Pineapple or Bananas
Following a simple guideline of any combination of colors allows the kids to choose making sure their is less waste.
Make it fun.
As with anything that we try and coax our kids to do, it has to be fun. The food we pack should be nutritious, colorful, and FUN.
- They can pick it up with their hands.
- They can dip it.
- They can pull it apart.
Gelli definitely had fun making this video for her latest #TeaTimeWithGelli episode. I can’t stop watching it. I’m having fun watching her enjoy all that peanut butter. She’s just too cute. I will have to come up with something fun now to see what else she can do for the camera for her next monthly episode.
We are all back to school now, so be on the lookout for some more lunchbox posts!