This post contains affiliate links.
Everything I pack in my daughter’s lunch box is a detailed, artistic homage to one of her interests, right? Nope. But, I do pack her food each morning. Every. Single. School Day. That’s 180 days a year, give or take some odd days off that get lumped in with the required one-eighty for some reason.
Today, I’m sharing the first week of 2015 school lunches, along with my top 5 reasons for why I roll out a homemade lunch for Scout each and every time she heads off to school.
5. I enjoy it, and I get to say exactly how much time and angst goes into each lunch.
This may not seem like a big deal. But, it is to me. Most of my day to day activities are pretty standardized. Wash, rinse, repeat. I love taking care of my family and our home. Do I always enjoy it? Meh. But, I do take pride in doing it well. You need help with an organizing solution or getting a stain out? I count those amongst my super powers. Scout’s lunch, however, is my biggest creative outlet…or, not, depending on my muse. And, while she’s always thrilled to have me craft ruby slippers from strawberries or find a Cheshire Cat smile lovingly cut from tofu in her lunch box, she’s just as eager to dig into a 5 minute bento featuring her favorite Trader joe’s Organic Peanut Butter Crackers.
This is something I can do well in five minutes or fifty, if I want to play a bit. And, at the end, I can still count it as a job well done. There’s something reassuring about that truth that makes me more than a little bit happy. Because most things, like laundry, can’t really be rushed. I’ve worn more than enough damp clothes to tell you that for fact.
Blood Orange wedges, black olives, organic English cucumber, organic grape tomatoes, and organic rainbow carrots sticks brighten up a serving of Trader Joe’s Organic Peanut Butter Crackers. PS, I scored this adorable, little appetizer fork off the sale shelf at Sur la Table. It fits beautifully in Scout’s LunchBots Trio bento box.
4. I know my child isn’t hungry all afternoon.
I’ve heard that a child will eat anything you put in front of them if they’re hungry enough. I don’t know who said it. But, I call tell you that person doesn’t know my daughter well. Scout will cheerfully chow down on these plain black beans and some leftover Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend. But, the bean and cheese burrito that’s on most school lunch menus? No way. No how.
Would it kill her to go hungry for a few hours? Nope. But, it won’t help her focus and work her way through math and social studies, either.
Trader Joe’s Organic Black Beans, Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Mix, organic English cucumbers, black olives, Mixed Medley tomato, and organic Gala apple slices in a LunchBots Quad.
3. I get to pack my kid an extra “I love you” each day.
One of my favorite lines in “The Princess Bride” is “That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”, what he meant was, “I love you.”” It’s amazing, right? All the little things we do for the people we care about. They’re not necessities, just unspoken “I love you’s”. When I come downstairs to find that my husband has put my mug out and has the coffee ready to go, that sweet, loving gesture sets the tone for my day.
Each time I prepare Scout’s lunch is an opportunity to nurture her body and soul, and reinforce the importance of fresh, healthy foods. Plus, the time I spend makes it possible for her to by-pass the five or ten minutes in line (which, sadly, is a good chunk of her lunch period), and allows her to gain a little more peace in her mid-day meal. If I wasn’t able to send her lunch with her, would it mean that I don’t love her? Of course, not. That’s why it’s an extra love note.
I don’t forget that it’s a privilege to fill up a bento box with Scout’s favorite foods every day. I know that everyone isn’t as lucky, and I don’t take that for granted.
Leftover Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese (LunchBots Thermal Jar and fork), an organic Gala apple, organic cucumber slices, a Mixed Medley tomato, organic grape tomatoes, black olives, and organic carrot sticks (To-Go Ware Large Sidekick Snack Container).
2. I know that what Scout is eating is in line with her needs and our values.
It gives me peace of mind to know that I’ve included organic options and have used safe, non-leaching materials to store her food wherever possible. I can also make sure that Scout’s getting all the building block she needs over the course of the day to ensure she has the fuel to be at her best. There’s only so much we can do as parents to protect our children…why not go the extra mile whenever possible.
We are blessed to only have to worry about Scout’s sensitivity to artificial food dyes and whether or not foods fit into our vegetarian lifestyle. Many of our friends deal with life-threatening allergies, and my heart goes out to them. I pack by choice partly to avoid eczema flare-ups, whereas they carry their own food to safeguard their child’s health, possibly their lives.
Trader Joe’s Bagel with their organic peanut butter and Super Fruit Spread. Annie’s Homegrown Snack Mix, organic Gala apple slices, organic celery, black olive slices, mixed medley tomatoes, and mixed organic greens in a PlanetBox Shuttle lunch box.
1. We don’t create waste by sending her lunch.
The older I get the more sensitive I am to the footprints I leave behind, and my brilliant little eco-ranger of a nine year old is thoroughly dedicated to taking care of our planet. Together, we help reduce the heart-wrenching amount of garbage created during the lunch hour. Knowing that those plastic baggies are going to be around long after Scout’s grandkids are packing lunches, makes using re-usable containers the only palatable choice. Reducing the possibility of including toxins with her PB&J by choosing stainless steel containers is an incredibly awesome bonus.
Scout’s PlanetBox Shuttle lunch box is great for compact lunches like this occasional treat, organic crunchy peanut butter with a schmear of Trader Joe’s Cookie and Cream Butter on whole wheat bread. Pretzel sticks, organic carrot sticks, Persian cucumber slices, mini heirloom tomatoes, some organic mixed greens, and blood orange wedges.
Each day I include one of Scout’s cloth napkins, a peppermint EO hand sanitizer and an insulated Klean Kanteen of ice water. I use two different ice packs to keep Scout’s lunch at a safe temperature. A sheet of Cryopak Flexible Ice Pack for Lunch Boxes goes underneath her lunch, and a PlanetBox Cold Kit travels in the mesh pocket of the PlanetBox case. If I pack a different lunch bag, I reach for one of our Kids Konserve Ice Packs. And, everything…and, I mean everything, gets labeled with one of Scout’s Mabel’s Labels. Because if it gets lost, I want it back…and, these ridiculously durable labels have helped many a forgotten water bottle return home.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase. It keeps Organized Bites running, and your support is greatly appreciated.