Pack Your Own Lunchbox!

When you pack your own, you can make sure you get what you want for lunch!

By FamilyTime

 You know when you’re old enough to pack your own lunch. Your mom may think you’re not ready, but with a little persuasion, she will give you the chance to prove that you’re more than able to take on this daily task — and this will free Mom up in the mornings and make them less hectic.

You may decide it’s easier to pack your lunch the night before and have it ready in the refrigerator. This is fine for most foods and will make the mornings a breeze. Grab your lunchbox and you’re off!

What to Pack
You and your mom or dad will have to decide what to have on hand to make it easy for you to pack your lunchbox. Talk it over with them before you shop. If you can, accompany your parent to the store to pick out what you’ll need. Eventually, the items will become part of the weekly shopping list.

Sure, it’s tempting to buy mini bags of chips and packaged puddings, but are these really good for you? Of course not! For lunch, after a long morning in the classroom, you’ll want protein and good-for-you carbohydrates.

When it comes to protein, think about turkey, chicken, tuna fish, and cheese. Carbs? Whole wheat bread, tortillas, and wheat crackers are good choices. Fruit and vegetables are great, too.

What you want to steer clear of is lots of fat (like processed meats such as bologna and salami) and simple carbohydrates, which means straight sugar and foods with lots of sugar in them (like brownies and cookies).

This doesn’t mean a cookie or two in the lunchbox a few times a week is a bad thing. Absolutely not! You’re a kid. You can eat cookies now and then!

Good Ideas
Come up with a list of foods you like and then figure out how to include them in your lunchbox. Do you like berries? Raisins? Granola? Peanut butter? Do you despise tuna fish?

Make a list one day when you’re hungry and go over it with your mom or dad. You’ll be surprised how many things you can pack in your lunchbox.

Think about making wraps instead of ordinary sandwiches. Add lettuce and tomatoes to your sandwiches for a little more crunch and some good moisture. How about sprouts instead of lettuce?

Some kids like hard-cooked eggs (you can peel them at school) or slices of cheese and turkey (or ham) rolled together without any bread. Or, how about already-cooked chicken drumsticks or breasts or cold meatloaf. See what Mom is cooking for supper to determine if there will be leftovers.

Pack a little bag of carrots or raw broccoli or sliced red peppers, if you like them. They are good to eat alongside a sandwich. Pack a piece of fruit everyday, or put some berries in a small plastic bag or container. Don’t forget about applesauce. It travels well. (Be sure to wash the veggies and fruit at home!)

Think about celery filled with peanut butter, or crackers and cheese, or a wide-mouth thermos for hot soup (heat the soup in the microwave at home). Yogurt-based dips for cut-up veggies and fruits is also delicious.

Don’t neglect foods such as pickles and olives, if you like them. They can add a lot delicious interest to a lunchbox meal and they pack nicely.

Finally, a bottle of water or a juice box left to freeze overnight will keep the food cold during the morning and yet will be thawed by the time you are ready to drink it. If you prefer milk, buy it at school.

Safety First
Remember, your lunchbox will not be refrigerated during morning classes. If you keep the ingredients cold and make your sandwich just before leaving for school (or keep it in the ‘fridge until you leave), you probably will be fine. It’s a good idea, though, to pack a frozen juice box or small ice pack (the kind you can refreeze every night) with the food.

Know your school’s policies about nuts. A lot schools are nut-free zones so consider this before bringing peanut butter, nut bread, granola, or cookies that might include nuts.

Containers Are Everything
Make sure your lunchbox or sack is one you like carrying. If it needs to go in your backpack, make sure it’s the right size and shape.

You and your parent can buy handy containers and wraps to keep the food fresh. It’s more environmentally sound to carry your food in reusable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, but remember you will have to carry them home again and wash them every night. They come in all sizes. Choose wisely. You can also wrap your food in plastic wrap or wax paper or slip it into plastic bags.

Be sure to pack food securely so that it does not leak onto other items in your lunchbox or into your locker! And don’t forget a napkin or two.