Packing a lunch is one of those parenting tasks that you might really want to like—but that’s easier said than done. Not only does it have to happen every single day for the next nine months, but social media can make it seem like you have to create mini works of art each morning. When most of your child’s lunch is still there when you go to empty it for the next day, it can feel like you failed.
To help inspire us and simplify the process, The Local Moms Network asked one of our favorite food & parenting contributors, actress and vegan entrepreneur (and mom of two!) Daniella Monet, to share her top lunch-packing tips. “The hardest part is packing stuff you can feel good about that you know your kids will actually eat, while not repeating the same foods too much to avoid them getting bored of it, ha!” says Daniella. Read more from her below, including her preferred container, go-to combos and a smart and simple tip to keep produce from going bad.
What do you pack your kids’ lunch in—and anything you keep in mind daily?
I love the PlanetBox stainless steel lunch boxes; my kids have the Rover. I have a system where I roughly always pack 30% fruit, 20% vegetables, 30% grains (like rice, pasta, bread, crackers) 20% protein (like beans, sun butter, or tofu).
That’s a good reminder. What are some go-tos for you?
Here are a couple easy go-to combos:
- Quesadillas, side of beans, half an avocado with everything seasoning, mixed berries and a date.
- I make these waffles or pancake batter with kale and spinach blended in. I throw all the ingredients into the blender until thoroughly blended and it turns the batter green – the kids love them! I combine that with sliced oranges, diced cucumbers, carrot sticks and Miyokos cream cheese, and a date.
How do you pack fruits and veggies that won’t go bad?
You can add an ice pack to the planet box carriers, or usually I find that whole items like an apple, banana, or mini bell peppers hold up pretty well.
Love the whole product tip! What about picky eaters—any thoughts there?
If my child says they don’t want something or don’t like something I say something like “Why don’t you try it and make sure.” If they insist that won’t, I say something like “Ok, you don’t have to”, but I will continually reintroduce it or offer it again.
I once heard it can take 12 times for a kid to actually try something and enjoy it. Our taste buds evolve and so even though they may not like it right now, don’t count that food out.
What advice do you have for moms who are already *over it* and the school year has barely begun?
Find a way to give yourself more time to get prepared. I often feel more overwhelmed by daily rituals when I’m pressed for time and not meeting my own needs. Secondly, know that these busier days aren’t forever. They won’t need us like they do now forever. That helps me give it everything I can.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I find one of the most influential and beneficial ways I can provide for my kids daily is via their nutrition. Encouraging others to make meal planning easier is why http://daniellasdigest.com was conceived.