It’s almost time to start thinking about school lunches, and we’ve got some ideas to keep things interesting when the new school year starts!
We all know that we should have fruits and veggies in our kids’ lunches, but most of us have had “one of those mornings” when washing, peeling, and/or slicing is just too much for the morning rush. Here’s my trick for staying on top of it. Two or three times a week, I set aside 15 minutes or so to prep a few days’ worth of fruits and veggies. I put some in a container with a lid to just keep in the fridge, and throw the rest in snack-sized zipper baggies, ready to be tossed in a lunchbox at the last minute. (Not that I ever wait till the last minute to pack lunches…oh wait–I do almost every morning…)
Sending the healthy stuff is one thing, but how do you make sure it gets eaten? For the most part, my kids do pretty well with this, but if I want to guarantee their fruits and veggies get eaten, I offer them a little something to dip it in. This is pretty easy to do in advance for lunches too–grab a few little sealable containers, and fill them with an assortment of dips once or twice a week to stash in the fridge and grab them when you need them. The dips don’t need to be anything fancy–here are a few of our favorites:
- Peanut Butter (for carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, and more)
- Ranch Dressing (for veggies)
- Softened Cream Cheese (for veggies or fruits)
- Nutella (for apples, grapes, strawberries, and more)
- Yogurt (for fruit, and even veggies if you use plain yogurt)
- Caramel Sundae Topping (a sweet treat for dipping apples)
- Ketchup (sounds weird, but two of my kids love dipping their carrots…whatever works!)
- Other Salad Dressings
- Prepared Veggie Dip (just the stuff from the store by the sour cream)
- …and one of our party staples: Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip (see recipe below)
- 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 jar marshmallow fluff
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon (more or less to taste)
- Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add marshmallow fluff and cinnamon, and mix until uniform in texture.
- Keep refrigerated--should keep for about a week.
- Variation: Use vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurt in place of the marshmallow fluff to cut down on the sugar content--it's yummy both ways!
Do you have any tips for prepping fruits and veggies to make them easy to pack? How about any other favorite dips? Let us know in the comments–I’m always looking for new tricks to simplify lunch packing and getting the healthy stuff in their bellies!