I have a “thing” about packing my kids’ lunches.
Well, first of all, I do it. Every day. I figure, it’s the least I can do – heck, the boys are barely awake and moving in the mornings, let alone THINKING about anything other than trying to wake up.
Secondly, I actually put some thought into my kids’ lunches. I consciously try and buy different and fun things to put into their lunches every week. For example, every week they get a lunchable – always a different kind each week. I make one traditional sandwich one day, put a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one day, and Hot Pockets another day. Every Tuesday and Thursday they get to drink soda (Mt. Dew is their favorite) because I figure those are the days of the week when they are dragging and really need the caffeine boost to see them through their day.
In addition, I play around with different deserts and fruit roll-ups – I also put the occasional “good luck on your test” sort of note in there as well.
In short, I really enjoy packing my kids’ lunches. And apparently, they love it too because neither one of them have bought lunch in YEARS. (Yes, I’m being serious).
As a result of this “obsession”, I tend to really enjoy getting new ideas for fun things to put into their lunches. Now granted, some of this stuff is a bit hokey for my teenage boys and I never want to embarrass them in front of their friends, but I’m not saying I won’t EVER sneak something like this in just to break up the monotony of their day. *grin*
For example, wouldn’t these be FUN to find in your lunch??
School of Fish
It won’t take long to reel kids in for snack time with these sweet-and-salty goldfish.
Mini chocolate chips
1. For each fish, slit one end of a dried apricot and insert the bottom of a mini pretzel. Pinch the apricot around the pretzel to hold it in place.
2. For a fish eye, pipe on a small dot of cream cheese (a plastic sandwich bag with a corner snipped off works well for this) and then press a mini chocolate chip, tip down, into the cream cheese.
Mini Caramel Apples
Bite-size versions of the fall fair treat, these tiny “caramel” apples are a great party snack.
4-inch lollipop sticks
Granny Smith apples (one apple makes about 8 mini apples)
Butterscotch or peanut butter chips
Chopped nuts, nonpareils, sprinkles, shredded coconut (optional)
Small paper candy cups
1. First, cut the lollipop sticks in half at an angle (the pointy end will go into the apple pieces easier). With the melon baller, scoop little balls out of the apple. Each ball should have a section of apple peel. Push half of a lollipop stick into the peel of each ball. Pat the apple pieces dry.
2. Melt the chips according to the package directions. Dip and swirl the mini apples in the melted chips, then roll the apples in nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils, or coconut, if desired. Place the mini apples in paper candy cups to set.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Stars
These little sandwiches make the perfect finger foods for picky eaters. (You can also watch a video on how to make these).
2 slices white bread
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 1/2-inch star cookie cutter
1. Use this recipe as an opportunity to teach your kids how to use cookie cutters and spread peanut butter and jelly on bread.
2. TIP: Jazz up your sandwiches by using mini cookie cutters to cut puzzle pieces out of white and whole wheat bread. Swap the whole wheat shapes with the white, then press them into place.
3. Using the star cookie cutter (available at party supply stores), cut two stars out of a slice of the white bread and two stars out of a slice of the whole wheat bread.
4. Fit the whole wheat stars into the star-shaped holes in the white bread and the white stars into the whole wheat bread.
5. Now the bread is ready for the peanut butter and jelly. Have your child use a table knife to smoothly spread on peanut butter and jelly, working slowly to avoid tearing the bread.
6. Assemble the sandwich, then wrap in plastic. Makes 2 star-studded sandwiches.
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