You plan ahead for breakfast because the conventional wisdom says that is the most important meal of the day, and you may spend a good part of the day figuring out what to have for dinner. Lunch, however, often tends to be an afterthought. Lunch is often something we grab between errands and work assignments, and your kids eat lunch between classes.
Unless it is Thanksgiving or another special family meal, it is hard to think about lunch as an occasion. However, lunch deserves careful consideration and can provide a much needed mid-day lift.
Lunch on the Go
One reason there is a tendency not to prioritize lunch as much as dinner is that it is eaten when we are on the go. This is also true of breakfast to some extent, but breakfast is often eaten at home where there are options if you change your mind. The fact that one is often “stuck with” lunch is all the more reason that it requires advance planning. It can be a real let down if you are disappointed with what you packed at the last minute for lunch, so make sure that when your child looks in his or her lunch box, what is available is fresh and exciting.
One way to manage lunch is to plan ahead but to avoid being too rigid. The idea is to have a moveable feast of options that can be prepared quickly but can be ditched in case you or your child change your minds. One idea is to have a general idea of the kinds of lunches you are going to pack for the week and have the ingredients available in your cupboard and fridge.
Many people suggest packing your lunch the night before, but this may not work for all kinds of sandwiches, such as those containing lettuce and tomatoes. You need not have everything finished before bedtime but have an idea of what kind of food you will prepare in the morning.
Many people associate packed lunch with the traditional brown bag. Lunch packing technology has come a long way from toting paper bags. You can find a fun-looking lunch box that looks like any other kind of tote. Kids love lunch boxes decorated with their favorite cartoon characters and bright designs. Look for totes that have enough space for several types of food, spill-proof pouches and surfaces that are easy to clean and resist bacteria. You can even find bags that clip on your child’s regular backpack so there is no need to carry extra items.
Lunch is not something to be gulped down between one activity and another but can be a light, enjoyable meal that can pick you up for the rest of the day. Involve your child in the process of planning, shopping and preparing lunches. Look for lunch boxes that are colorful and designed to carry everything from entrees and salads and resist spoilage.
You and your child can enjoy tasty, healthy lunches on the go with the right planning and lunch totes that make carrying food easier.