Monday, August 27, 2012

School Lunch (And a Giveaway!)

Wow.  We have been in back-to-school frenzy mode for the past week and a half.  This year I have a kindergartner and a preschooler.  It's amazing how much more planning and preparing I have to do now that I have a grade-schooler.
And the money!  It's just flying out the window.  Is it just me or have the supply lists gotten extraordinarily longer since we were in school.  Why do they need three boxes of markers?

Last week I made my first stop to the uniform supply store and dropped $40 on two polos.  I'm a savvy clothes shopper for my kids so I just kept thinking about how many shirts I could have really gotten with $40.  I did go the cheap route with his pants and bought those at the Old Navy Uniform Store.  The material might be less durable but I'm almost certain he will outgrow the pants before he has a chance to rip holes in them anyway.

Of course most of these costs are are due to the fact that William is attending private school.  I did have to pick myself up off the floor after I wrote out his tuition check and realized that amount of money would not be paying for a trip to Fiji.  And while the amount is staggering, I refuse to go so far as to complain about it because sending him to private school, after all, was a choice.

But money is still money so I'll take my cost-cutting efforts where I can get them.  Which is why I'll be packing a lunch for him each and every day, forgoing the school's hot lunch program.  At $2.75 a day, that's $55 a month.  And from what I've heard, packing a lunch is the healthier option anyway.

So every morning I'll be packing the Batman lunch box he picked out with things like sandwiches, fresh fruit, yogurt, string cheese, etc.

The following are some tips from Earth's Best on packing your child's school lunch.  If you're a newbie at this like me, I hope you find one or two of the points useful.
  • Bite-sized pieces are more visually-appealing to children.  Keep that in mind when packing fruits or veggies.
  • When in doubt, add a dip! Kids love dips so if you think they might shy away from something like a carrot stick, throw in a little bit of ranch dressing.
  • Keep your cupboards stocked.  Nothing is more aggravating than going through the rush of the morning routine and realizing you don't have much to give your child for lunch.  Keep the habit of going to the store at least once a week to  make sure you have plenty of fresh items on hand.
  • Choose healthier packaged items.  Every kid loves the snack size packaged chips and cookies.  These pack little health benefits but you don't have to say no altogether.  Instead, choose things like pretzels or whole wheat crackers.  Still fun for kids, but leaps and bounds healthier.
  • Let your kids have a say by offering a choice.  Peanut butter or turkey and cheese sandwich?  Grapes, apple slices or an orange?
And finally, last year Darcie at Such the Spot had an excellent post on packing school lunches.  It was loaded with tons of great ideas.  Check it out if you're in need of inspiration.

A Giveaway!
Earth's Best is offering one of my readers a free box of their Sunny Days Snack Bars.  One of these bars would be a great addition to any lunch box!  I've also been throwing them in my purse in case we're in need of some sustenance while we're on-the-go.

To enter simply leave a comment on this post.  I'd love to know if you had packed lunches as a child and if you pack lunches for your own children.  Also, please share if you have any great lunch-packing ideas!  Deadline to enter is Tuesday, September 4 at noon (Central Time).

* Earth's Best has provided me with one box of snack bars for review purposes and one to give away.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

This contest is now closed.  The winner is #2, Kati!**

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