Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Simple Fall Lunches

The same lunch: (The same ingredients), presented differently each day!
So I figured I'd let you all peek into Eliana's weekly school lunches!  I don't always remember to photograph every one, but this time I did my best! For the most part, every week her lunches are made with the same exact ingredients-- I just present them differently every day to make them more fun. I explain in full detail (after her lunches) about why we do this, so if you are interested in knowing why you can continue reading afterwards :) 

For this specific week I bought: (per Eliana's request)
One loaf of pumpkin spice bread
12 oz package of raspberries
cucumbers (i know technically a fruit, but it works for me especially since she loves them!)

I made her entire week of school lunches with the above ingredients.  I also happened to use wowbutter for three of the lunches that week so technically it could be considered 4 ingredients, but you could fill your sandwiches with whatever ingredient(s) you prefer.  So as you can see, her school lunches could become boring using the exact same ingredients every day.  To help combat that mundane/eating the same thing every lunch feeling I make her lunches fun and creative very simply by using cookie cutters.

These three lunches I am sharing here today I made all in ONE day, in 30 minutes.  The other two days for that school week she did not have lunch in school (one half day and one holiday). However we did use the same ingredients and made lunches at home-- I just didn't photograph them.  Of course, depending on your kids' appetites you might have to make bigger sandwiches, but these are what work perfectly for Eliana.  I also packed all our our lunches in EasyLunchboxes because I love how they stack in our fridge.  I just use a marker and put the first initial of whoever's lunch it is (since I pack my lunch and hubby's lunch in EasyLunchboxes too).

Simple Maple Leaf Bento:
In this lunch Eliana has a wowbutter and mini chocolate chip sandwich on pumpkin swirl bread. She has maple leaf cucumbers (with some cucumber scraps underneath) and raspberries with a maple leaf pick.  I added a cute and yummy peanut free/nut free maple leaf cookie too.

Simple Acorn Bento:
This lunch was just as simple-- just changed up the shapes and sandwich filling.  Eliana had a wowbutter and cinnamon sandwich cut out of an acorn cookie cutter.  I used bread crust to make the acorn top.  She had acorn cucumbers (cucumber scraps underneath) and raspberries both decorated with cute bento picks.  I actually added a babybel cheese to this lunch afterwards.

Simple Oak Leaf Bento:
And once again-- same lunch just different shape! Here Eliana has an Oak leaf sandwich filled with wowbutter, honey and cinnamon.  Oak leaf cucumbers (ontop of cucumber scraps) and raspberries with an oak leaf pick.  Inside the small red container she has some diced dried plums.

**I also want to point out that Eliana eats the bread scraps and that they are not thrown out. For the cucumber scraps it honestly depends.  I always include some of the scraps underneath the cucumbers, but I do end up tossing some of them if they are mostly the peel.

The best part of these lunches? Eliana ate everything. She ate well during school, came home less irritable, and even wanted her lunches to be the same again the following weeks! Win-win situation!! :)


  
**Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links**


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So WHY do we do our lunches like this? Every day, basically the same thing? I know many people are against that.. especially because variety is important to them.  Eliana's school lunches just don't have a huge variety because when it comes down to it,  I want her to eat. Eliana is a picky eater, a very slow eater, eats like a bird, AND loves to talk.  So even a thirty minute lunch break sometimes isn't enough for her.  There were times that her lunch was coming home completely uneaten and she would be hungry and irritable.  Not only that, she didn't always want to eat the food when she got home because it had gotten "mushy" after being out all day.  After this happened multiple times, I decided we had to do something about it.

Eliana and I worked together on figuring out a way that she had enough food that she would eat it all and be satisfied.  I want Eliana to be eating healthy lunches;  But I also want her to actually EAT it.  You can always pack a nice healthy lunch but it can come home uneaten.  And I know that her not eating at school would be directly impacting her school work/attentiveness.

So enough was enough. I didn't want to waste food anymore, because it felt like I was throwing money into the trash. I wanted her to understand that being wasteful with food was not okay, and that it was important for her to eat a healthy lunch.  While at home she had no problems-- she could take as long as she wanted to eat and she would eat whatever I gave her.  But in school it is a completely different story.  My girl likes to talk and she only gets a certain amount of time to eat. So we had to figure this out.

When we go grocery shopping for the week I let Eliana pick the ingredients that we will use for that school week and get her even more involved.  We use those ingredients all week long. This has helped tremendously cut down on waste, and it is working! She is eating everything. She is not coming home irritable/hungry.  Not only that-- this method has lowered my grocery bill, because ALL of our lunches (hubby and mine included) contain the same ingredients (except the pumpkin swirl bread of course.. Eliana claimed all of it for herself ;) )

So I say variety can sometimes be overrated.

This method has worked for us especially because we choose to use more variety in our breakfasts and dinners.  For example, Eliana doesn't like many vegetables raw or cold, which means instead of trying to stick it in her lunch and hope she eats it, we eat it steamed or cooked at dinner (or breakfast).

We have been doing this every week now!  I hope you enjoyed a peek into our lunch making habits :)


What do you do to ensure your child eats well at school?



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8 comments:

  1. Love this! I always enjoy seeing different ways of using the same things!

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  2. Wow, posted 7 hours ago and already on pinterest! Impressive! Anywho, I wanted to actually comment on the post itself... I say, do whatever it takes to get your picky eater to eat! I am having the same issues with my son, so maybe this is just what I need! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Thanks Renaye! Let me know if this method helps your son! :)

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  3. Cute fall lunches...especially the acorn! I like how you used the top with the scraps. Good way to use it up without waste. My son is a picky eater and I can totally relate. He would prefer the same lunch every day so I often do that. I used to try and put carrots in his lunch and it would take him the entire lunch just to eat 4 carrots and then he wouldn't have time to eat anything else. So it's better to just put in the healthy food that you know they'll eat when your not around. So, I agree with you!

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    1. Thanks Jenni! I used to try exactly that! I was putting in broccoli and raw carrots and after many many times of her not eating them , or eating some and then not eating the rest of her lunch I decided it was better to do this method. It is still healthy food-- just can be considered "boring" lol :) Glad to know others do the same!

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  4. You know exactly what and how much your child will eat. I love that you made the same lunch look cute and fresh multiple times. My son takes almond butter & jelly or ham & cheese sandwiches almost every day for lunch at school. Making them "cute" keeps him from bored with his repetitive (picky eater) menu.

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    1. Exactly Keitha!! So glad to hear others do the same! I sometimes worry about her lunches being too repetitive but I'd honestly prefer her EAT! :)

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