A passion for food + fashion

Preschool Packed Lunch: Week in Review

In Baby Love, Food on July 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm

With the first week of preschool behind us, I thought I’d share a week’s worth of lunches since figuring out what to pack for Tiny G had given me a fair amount of angst. Which is silly. I mean, he turned TWO last week. How hard can this be? To get started, I polled a bunch of savvy parents, who shared great ideas like my friend Selena who cuts her son’s sandwiches into cute shapes using cookie cutters. I also consulted this handy pdf from Whole Foods about packing a balanced lunch. The challenge is to get protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and calcium into your toddler’s lunch each day. Hummus is my secret weapon as it hits the protein, healthy fats and calcium categories all at once! Other ways to sneak in healthy fats—cook ground chicken or drizzle vegges w/ a little olive oil. For more info on the lunchbox itself, click HERE.

Monday lunch: Red-pepper hummus on whole grain bread, organic blueberries, Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles (available in frozen section at Whole Foods). I got a heart-shaped cookie cutter from Sur la Table for $1 to make the sandwich.

Tuesday lunch: Pumpernickel bagel from Sam’s on Larchmont, garlicky hummus, organic blueberries and strawberries. [This lunch was missing veggies, so we made sure to eat extra broccoli at dinner that night. Subbing in red-pepper hummus for plain would have done the trick, too.]

Wednesday lunch: Whole wheat macaroni with whole wheat flour roux, ground organic chicken cooked in olive oil and organic cheddar cheese—baked together in silicone muffin liner (microwave safe for reheating), edamame, organic blueberries and strawberries. This one takes a little extra doing so I made a batch of six individual servings of macaroni and cheese. They keep well covered in fridge and can be used for dinners and lunches throughout the coming week/weekend. I like to use the generic brand of whole pasta from Whole Foods. [For a more balanced lunch, the edamame should have been swapped with a carrots or green veggie.]

Thursday lunch: Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles and Sweet Potato Littles, Edwards & Sons Purple Rice & Black Sesame crackers (avail at Whole Foods), organic string cheese, organic blueberries.

Friday lunch: Organic ground chicken patty cooked in olive oil, sliced organic apple, and red-pepper hummus mixed with whole wheat couscous pressed into a pig shape using these awesome farmyard ice cream sandwich molds made from BPA-free/dishwasher safe polypropylene that I picked up at Target. Tiny G was still talking about “pig” and “doozdooz” (ie, couscous) when I picked him up from school that day. These molds will offer lots of fun possibilities. Am thinking about mixing puréed steamed broccoli with mashed potato and cheese in the cow-shaped mold for tomorrow’s lunch. Would love to hear other ideas!

  1. Those ice cream sandwich molds are great! I totally got the lunch bots box from whole foods this weekend. D had stick lunch today. tofu sticks, carrot sticks and cucumber sticks with fresh peanut butter for dipping and raspberries on the side.

  2. I go to work every day. You have my home address, please feel free to consider me your “other” grown-up kid and send me lunch too!

  3. The piggie sandwich is too adorbs for words! I’m suddenly inspired to plan out similar lunches for myself–nevermind that I work from home! Also, looove Sam’s bagels; discovered them sort of on accident when the line at Noah’s was too long.

  4. I am stealing the cookie cutter idea! Anything for the sake of cuteness.

  5. There needs to be a sandwich cart with little lunch/snacks like this that comes to my office. How could you have a bad day opening a little box to find any one of these? Especially the pig. It’s like a hug from mom in a box! You rock.

  6. I was looking for little bowls for our container, so thanks for the idea about the LeCreuset pinch bowls. I love your blog. Cooking is also a passion of mine. Please check out my friend’s blog, http://www.crookedmoonmama.com. She has some amazing vegan, raw and gluten-free recipes and would be a perfect Friday guest blogger for your blog. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  7. awesome ideas!! my son is most likely to eat sandwiches that shaped with special cutters. his fave is the dinosaur.

  8. Wow, the lunches I pack are pretty darn pathetic in comparison. Now that school is starting this week it’s time I get a little creative. Maybe my toddler will eat sandwiches if they look like trains or are in the shape of some of the gazillion cookie cutters we’ve amassed. But what to do with all that bread waste? Feed ducks? Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. So cute. I like to roll up turkey and cheese in a tortilla and slice very thin like roll ups.

  10. What is the consistency of the couscous in order to hold its shape of the cookie cutter? Is it finger friendly or are the kids using a fork? I want to use this idea but can not figure out how you get it to stay in thenshapr and then not be messy at lunch. Thank you!

    • I mix it with hummus to thicken and chill overnight so it holds its shape. I pack a spoon for eating. I prefer not to use disposable, but sometimes it’s inevitable and I really like the WorldCentric biodegradable spoons!

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