One year, our oldest daughter decided that bag lunches were the way to go. We both have fond memories of the experience . . . kind of a daddy-daughter thing. We would like to share some ideas that will help make your lunch bagging memorable.
• Put a note in every bag. It doesn’t have to be long. “I’m proud of you,” or “Thanks for helping with the dishes last night,” will give your child something to look forward to in every lunch. Sign it, “Love, Mom or Dad.” If you are bagging for a spouse, make it a romantic note.
• Get some hard candies or mints. Put one in every bag.
• Make lunch a community event. If appropriate, put some extra cookies or candies in the bag for your child to share with her friends. Remember, lunches are social events for children also.
• Fit your creativity to your child. Some children want the same lunch everyday, a favorite lunch that they enjoy. Others like something different and love to be surprised.
• Include Jell-o or pudding with lunches. Use small plastic containers or save your yogurt containers, wash, and reuse them. Packing your own is much less expensive than buying individual packs at the store.
• Check out the “lunchables” at the grocery store. They are small, low in nutrition, and expensive but they did their market research—kids like them. Make duplicates of your child’s favorites with crackers, small portions of meat, and a snack.
• Freeze your beverage before packing. (See the article on food safety.) Consider milk, water, or a fruit juice.
• Add variety by choosing different breads. Consider sandwich rolls, hamburger buns, Hawaiian bread, or pita bread.
• Flour tortillas spread with cream cheeses or peanut butter and rolled up jellyroll style make great sandwiches. We used tortillas and flavored cream cheese to make trail lunches when on hiking trips with scouts and they were always welcome. A favorite was cream cheese sprinkled with dried pineapple bits.
• Add a splash of color to your child’s lunch—use colored plastic wrap instead of clear.
• Kids love to dip. Apple slices in a caramel dip, carrots in their favorite dressing, or bread sticks in peanut butter work well. (See our recipe for Caramel Apple Dip.)
• Speaking of peanut butter, kids love peanut butter. Peanut butter and jelly is the all time favorite kids’ sandwich but try others also—banana or apple slices, honey, or cream cheese.
• Make some trail mix or Kid’s Party Munch. (See the recipe.)
• Cut sandwiches into shapes. Use cookie cutters or a sharp knife to cut into rectangles or triangles.
By the way, that daughter—Debbie—is now married and is our webmaster. She and her daughter still eat plenty of Daddy’s cookies.
For ideas on making bag lunches even more exciting, click here.