I had my first taste of what the lack of proper school lunch gear looked like last week. I packed Andrew a few things for his school camp and when I came to pick him up, I asked if he ate his grapes. He replied, “Grapes? What grapes?” The grapes were actually in a separate container that was not see-through so he totally missed them.
Up until now, I’ve always packed his school lunches in separate containers but when he didn’t realize he had grapes, it made me think. Am I going about this all wrong? Is there a way to pack lunches that not only minimizes forgotten foods but also encourages a child to try new things?
When I thought about it some more, I realized how I personally feel when it comes to the presentation and look of food and the mood it makes me feel about eating it. Food that is displayed well with bright colors makes me much more excited about food that is displayed poorly and in an unorganized way. Maybe I’m dissecting it too much but in my head, it totally makes sense. Maybe kids feel the same way about food?
After my little school lunch epiphany, I started searching for ways to display Andrew’s school lunches in a way that was exciting and pretty. I decided the first approach was getting a new container to put lunch in. Instead of having a million little separate containers that I have to find lids for, pack, and then wash, I needed a simplistic solution that displayed all the food in one container.
I had been seeing PlanetBox lunch boxes around the web so I decided to give it a try. They have a few sets to choose from but I opted for the Rover lunch box set because it allows for more options. Knowing Andrew, I know he likes a little bit of everything so with the Rover having many compartments, it made sense for us. I asked him to pick out the decorative magnets and color of his lunch box so he played a part in customizing his brand new lunch box. I’m interested in trying out their water bottle because they claim it doesn’t sweat (a serious problem here in the FL heat).
The fact that the container is stainless steel and one big piece instead of a million little containers also makes me happy. Less dishes to wash, less parts, less clutter = happy mom.
I’m excited to put my theory to the test and see if having all of his food in one spot where he can pick and choose from a wide variety will help him become less picky. It’s worth a shot, right?
To make the new lunch box even more exciting for him, I decided to replicate one of his favorite store-bought snacks by making it at home with a couple minor tweaks. This recipe is inspired by Enjoy Life’s Mountain Mambo Seed Pack which I used to purchase for Andrew a lot last year. He’s not a fan of raisins or cranberries and I found that he only ate the seeds, apples, and chocolate chips. This resulted in the waste of cranberries and raisins. I wanted to create something similar that reduced the need for plastic wrappers but I could pick seeds that had been sprouted (for maximum digestability first), reduce the amount of chocolate chips in it, and customize to what he liked.
- ½ cup sprouted sunflower seeds (I love Go Raw brand; can be found in health food stores or here)
- ½ cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (Go Raw brand also carries pumpkin seeds in stores or here)
- ½ cup dehydrated organic apples, cut into small pieces as small as the chocolate chips
- ½ cup soy-free, dairy-free mini chocolate chips (these are my go-to)
- ½ unsweetened coconut flakes (I get mine here) or 1 coco-roons cut and squished together
- Mix together all the ingredients but the coco-roons if using them. Store in an air-tight container
- If using coco-roons, cut one of them up and place them in the single-serve seed mix you're giving for that day.
More healthy school lunch ideas from around the web:
- Healthy back to school lunch ideas mom and kids will love via The Organic Kitchen
- More real food lunch ideas for back to school Pre-K friendly via The Organic Kitchen
- 100+ real food lunch box ideas via Recipes to Nourish
This post is sponsored by PlanetBox. However, the opinions and photos are of my own. Authenticity is important so I would never promote any brand or product that I wholeheartedly don’t believe in. My readers are my number one priority and I always recommend companies and products that I believe will benefit my readers.